Citizens have a photograph taken of themselves after voting in the presidential election at a polling station in central Seoul, Wednesday. / Yonhap
By Kim Rahn
After voting, citizens usually return home straight away. But many remained in the polling stations for a few minutes more in order to have their photos taken to prove that they voted.
The "voting shot" trend began a couple of years ago when social networking services (SNS) became widely used and some celebrities urged people to vote by posting pictures of themselves online.
As it was illegal to take such photos with campaign posters or inside polling stations, citizens usually took them outside with signs indicating the names of the stations.
A 30-year-old woman took a photo of herself with her mother at a polling station in Mapo, central Seoul. "I'll post it on my Twitter. My friends and I agreed that we all post our pictures. It's just for commemoration, you know, the presidential election comes once every five years."
A couple in their 40s also had a photo taken together with their two children. "I heard that many restaurants and shops offer discounts today if customers present their photos. We'll spend the rest of the day going to movies or eating out, and this picture may be helpful," the husband said.
Indeed, many restaurants, cafes, bars and stores gave discounts or special offers to customers who showed their voting photos in an effort to encourage more people to participate in the poll.
In Gwangju and South Jeolla Province, more than 1,000 eateries joined in the discount campaign, while several community buses in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province, offered free rides to people.
A zoo in Gyeonggi Province offered a 30-percent discount for admissions, and a water park in South Chungcheong Province said it would halve ticket prices for people who showed such photos by Dec. 23.
Actor and gay activist Hong Seok-cheon, promised to give 30-percent off all food at a restaurant he recently opened in Itaewon if customers presented voting photos.
Many other celebrities posted their own pictures taken in front of polling stations.