Justin Timberlake nearly became the focus of an investigation after he shared a photo of himself voting in his home state of Tennessee. The singer's ballot selfie is not under review, authorities in Memphis have confirmed.
The star shared his ballot selfie on Instagram on Monday (24 October) and caught the attention of Tennessee officials, who said he might have been violating state election law. Tennessee is one of 16 states in the US that does not allow photographs while voting.
Vince Higgins, communications director for the office of Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich, told The Commercial Appeal he was wrong in saying the actor's selfie was under review.
"While we are aware of an allegation that someone may have violated a Tennessee state election law, we have not been presented anything by an investigative authority," Higgins said.
Weirich also commented on the situation, releasing a statement to the Appeal through email. "The statement released earlier today by my office regarding Justin Timberlake and an investigation was incorrect and was released without my knowledge. I am out of town at a conference. No one in our office is currently investigating this matter nor will we be using our limited resources to do so."
Timberlake, who lives in California but owns property near Nashville, posted the photo showing him cast his ballot at the New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Germantown. In his caption, he urged his fans to #rockthevote and see if they could participate in early voting.
"Hey! You! Yeah, YOU! I just flew from LA to Memphis to #rockthevote !!!! No excuses, my good people! There could be early voting in your town too. If not, November 8th! Choose to have a voice! If you don't then we can't HEAR YOU! Get out and VOTE! #excerciseyourrighttovote," he wrote.
The singer has not addressed the apparent controversy following his initial Instagram post. According to the BBC, a charge for the selfie, which is considered a misdemeanour, could result in up to 30 days in jail, a $50 (£41) fine or both.
There are 21 states, plus Washington D.C, that allow ballot selfies during elections. In 16 other states, ballot selfies are explicitly illegal while in 13 states, the law remains ambiguous.