The June 4 elections had widely been expected to be quiet and uneventful in the wake of the Sewol ferry incident three weeks ago. The elections were completed without any foul play or controversy. As many as 23,465,000 went to the booth out of 41,296,000 registered voters, with the final voting ratio of 56.8 percent. This is the second highest voting ratio among all local elections. Just like any other country going through elections these days, Korea is no exception in that people love to take “selfies” right after they cast their ballots and show it off on their social networking spaces. In the past, it was usually restricted to entertainers and other celebrities. But now more and more ordinary people are doing it, promoting themselves that they are proud voters. Korean voters are today allowed to take pictures of themselves in front of a polling station and publish them on the Internet. But the pictures must be in ways that show a simple fact that one has voted.
Any picture showing messages or signs to encourage people to get out and vote or support a specific candidate is construed as a violation of election laws. Within the polling station, no one is permitted to take picture of anything or themselves.
One of the most famous selfies in the latest local elections was that of Hwang Chansung, a member of the boy band 2PM, who posted on his Twitter account a picture of him putting a V sign with his two fingers on the forehead.
According to the Korea National Election Commission, putting one’s thumb up or drawing a V with fingers in published photos may be subject to the election laws. Immediately after the posting, Hwang replaced the picture with a more innocent one, with a comment, “No, I shouldn’t have posted a V sign.”