As two-day early voting marked a record high turnout Friday, voters of all ages flooded social media with the latest trend -- taking selfies to celebrate their participation in democracy.
It has become fashionable among tech-savvy young voters to share “voting selfies” -- photos of themselves posing in front of the polling booth or of hands or other body parts bearing ballot stamp marks.
“I took a selfie and shared it online because I am proud that I had voted. Also, I wanted to encourage others to vote, too,” Kang Byeo-ri, a 26-year-old office worker told The Korea Herald after casting her ballot at an early voting booth inside Incheon Airport.
A man poses after casting his early vote for South Korea's 19th president at a polling station in Seoul. (Ock Hyun-ju/The Korea Herald)
This is the first presidential election since the National Election Commission lifted a ban on voters taking photos confirming their participation as part of efforts to boost the turnout.
Voters are allowed to take photos outside polling booths and use hand gestures or placards to show who they voted for. Taking photos of actual ballot papers and selfies inside voting booths is still banned.
“I was looking forward to casting a ballot. I don’t share it online, but I wanted to celebrate that I had voted with my child,” Kim Ae-young, 33, who took a selfie with her 3-year-old daughter.
Some had a more practical reason to take such selfies.
“I have always taken a selfie after I voted. But this time, I had another reason for it. I am going to upload this photo to enter a lottery,” said Park Se-jin, a 29-year-old artist. “I hope I win the money.”
Software developer Yoon Byung-joon launched the “Vote for Korea” campaign, a lottery with monetary prizes. Anyone can take part free of charge by submitting a photo confirming they voted.
As of 6 p.m. Friday, more than 150,000 people had entered the lottery. The winners will be randomly selected and announced at 9 p.m. on the actual May 9 Election Day. The prize money, which ranges from 50,000 won to 5 million won, was raised through donations.
By Ock Hyun-ju (email@example.com)