Editorial: Stemfies

POSTED: 05/4/14 10:49 PM

Are stemfies fun or are they a direct threat to free and fair elections? That question took center stage in a court hearing in The Hague yesterday.

Home Affairs Minister Ronald Plasterk said in March that he would not encourage the practice, though he conceded that it is allowed to take pictures on oneself with one’s ballot. D66-leader Alexander Pechtold was all over the media with his stemfie, so it is tempting to conclude that technology has brought some fun to elections.

In St. Maarten, we know all about the downside of such practices and the Platform Protection civil rights in the Netherlands shares our concerns. The state’s attorney said yesterday that he saw no problem, because the law does not prohibit taking such pictures.

It is tempting to argue that it is about time to change the law, but that triggers immediately the following question: how do you enforce such a ban without turning elections into a police state-like security drill?

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