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[Election 2024] No more stamps on hands: Voting proof shots evolve

Young voters come prepared with voting proof photo materials, ranging from cutesy character postcards to K-pop star photos

By No Kyung-min

Published : April 10, 2024 - 17:39

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Clockwise from top left: Ballot stamp on mini poster of K-drama Clockwise from top left: Ballot stamp on mini poster of K-drama "My Demon," ballot stamp on photo card of K-pop Idol Ten from NCT, character holding a blank sheet of paper to receive a ballot stamp and ballot stamp on paper promoting Korean professional baseball team the Kia Tigers, (@Odd_luvs on X, @yuni_ten10 on X, @seoul_housingcenter on instagram, @happydukk on X)

Sharing voting proof shots on social media has been a trend in Korea for some time.

In this election, the trend has evolved further with young voters preparing special papers to stamp voting marks on instead of stamping the mark on their hands. Unsurprisingly, these special papers reflect the voter’s personality, often featuring objects of their recent fascination, or even the baseball team they are rooting for.

On X, Instagram and other social media platforms, a variety of proof shots are currently trending, including those using K-pop idol photo cards or character-illustrated papers, all adorned with a ballot stamp.

Another notable trend is to use the ballot stamp, whose shape resembles the Korean consonant "ieung," to fill in blanks for phrases supporting their favorite sports clubs or promoting K-dramas.

X user "yuni_ten10" shared a photo of K-pop Idol Ten from NCT with a red ink stamp. With the hashtag "proof shot," the post read, "I will make the Republic of Korea a better place for you, Ten."

Another X user "happydukk" shared a photo of stamped paper to show support for the Korean baseball team the Kia Tigers. "I'm adding Kia!" declared the user, indicating their involvement in the trend of posting proof shots online.

These shots require advance planning, bringing the piece of paper to the polls. Park Ye-jin, a 24-year-old college student residing in Mapo-gu, Seoul, regretted failing to plan ahead for the latest trend in voting proof shots.

"One of my friends even brought a character-illustrated paper to be stamped after voting," said Park, who stopped by at a nearby polling station before heading to her university for a 9:00 a.m. class Wednesday.

"Not only do I feel obligated to cast a vote, but I believe that sharing proof shots online helps encourage others to participate in the voting process," she said. "Moreover, the act of sharing grants me a sense of accomplishment, providing visual proof that I exercised my rights as a Korean citizen."

Sharing a digital stamped-mark on social media presents a double-edged sword for Shin Min-kwon, a 29-year-old resident of Seoul's Yongsan-gu.

"On one hand, it can create a sense of responsibility among eligible voters motivated by seeing their peers participate in voting," Shin said, adding, "I also use it to portray an image of a citizen leading a healthy lifestyle by posting a picture of my stamped hand holding a jumping rope on my Instagram."

However, Shin expressed a slight concern about the voting process being taken lightly and potentially losing its gravitas in social media platforms.

“On the other hand, some people seem to use social media platforms solely to garner attention without taking politics seriously,” Shin said. “I hope people recognize the importance of ballots and approach voting with seriousness, as it carries significant weight and impacts the nation's affairs for the next four years.”

Shin further shared with The Korea Herald that, despite not closely following political issues, his decision on ballots reflects his sentiments about the current government.

“Whether the current government performs well serves as a gauge in determining which party to vote for,” he said. “Additionally, the impact of the current government's policies on my family also plays a crucial role in my decision-making process.”

Voter Park Ye-jin, a 24-year-old Seoul resident, takes a photo of her stamped hand. (Park Ye-jin) Voter Park Ye-jin, a 24-year-old Seoul resident, takes a photo of her stamped hand. (Park Ye-jin)
Voter Shin Min-kwon, a 29-year-old Seoul resident, takes a photo of his stamped hand holding a jumping rope. (Shin Min-kwon) Voter Shin Min-kwon, a 29-year-old Seoul resident, takes a photo of his stamped hand holding a jumping rope. (Shin Min-kwon)