With Luv: Election ballot in East Java ‘vandalized’ with photo of BTS rapper Suga

The ballots in Kediri regency, East Java feature a photo of the only candidate pair to head the region, Hanindhito Himawan Pramana and Dewi Mariya Ulfa, on the left side, while the right side remained empty. During counting, however, Bawaslu found one ballot in which a photo of BTS member, Suga, was pasted on the empty space. Photos: Instagram/@bts.bighitofficial and Humas Bawaslu RI
The ballots in Kediri regency, East Java feature a photo of the only candidate pair to head the region, Hanindhito Himawan Pramana and Dewi Mariya Ulfa, on the left side, while the right side remained empty. During counting, however, Bawaslu found one ballot in which a photo of BTS member, Suga, was pasted on the empty space. Photos: Instagram/@bts.bighitofficial and Humas Bawaslu RI

With the simultaneous regional elections (Pilkada) going ahead yesterday despite the ever-growing number of daily COVID-19 cases in Indonesia, a number of people across the country found creative ways to protest ⁠— one of which includes one-seventh of K-pop superstars BTS.

The Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) learned yesterday of a trend of voters deliberately vandalizing their ballots so that their votes won’t count. This happened in the Kediri regency of East Java where there’s only one candidate pair to head the region, Hanindhito Himawan Pramana and Dewi Mariya Ulfa.

The ballots in Kediri feature a photo of Hanindhito and Dewi on the left side, while the right side remained empty ⁠— the latter of which is an option for voters who don’t want to vote for the pair. During counting, however, Bawaslu found one ballot in which a photo of BTS member, Suga, was pasted on the empty space. 

“There was a unique occurrence, a voter stuck a photo in the empty box in the ballot of the sole candidate pair. A photo, I didn’t know who that is, a celebrity I suppose, Korean,” Bawaslu member Mochammad Afifuddin said in a virtual press conference yesterday.

Suga, real name Min Yoon-gi, is one of BTS’ three rappers ⁠— the other being the group’s leader RM and J-Hope. The 27-year-old rapper, who’s currently recovering from a recent shoulder surgery, has written and produced numerous songs for BTS as well as releasing solo works under his other moniker, Agust D.

Though it would undoubtedly be interesting to see Suga work his magic leading an Indonesian regency, there weren’t enough vandalized ballots to stop Hanindhito, the 28-year-old son of Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, from claiming victory against no one in particular in the region’s election. 

Bawaslu said it also found a vandalized ballot at another voting station in Kediri, with a photo of an unknown man wearing sunglasses stuck in the empty space of the ballot paper. More forms of ballot protests can be seen below:

Bawaslu member Fritz Edward Siregar said that vandalizing ballots does not count as an election violation, because such a thing is not regulated. Ballots that are scribbled on or affixed with photos are considered invalid still, and the agency describes these recent incidents as a “dynamic in the elections.”

Yesterday, Indonesia held Pilkada in 270 regions, which comprised nine provinces, 224 regencies, and 37 cities across Indonesia. As concerns of mass gathering loomed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the elections were met with public rejection despite the government’s insistence that it was to be carried out as scheduled.

On a more interesting note, BTS has numerous achievements this year, including making history as the first K-pop artists to be nominated in a major category in Grammy Awards. Dynamite, the group’s Billboard No. 1 hit and first English-language single, is nominated for the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category in the next year’s award, which is slated to be held on Jan. 31, 2021.

Read the latest news on Coconuts Jakarta

Subscribe to the WTF is Up in Southeast Asia + Hong Kong podcast to get our take on the top trending news and pop culture from the region every Thursday!



Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. If the Authorities are catching these culprits I am certain they get some 5 years Jail sentence to “vandalizing” the Ballot Papers !
    Serves them right !

Leave A Reply


BECOME A COCO+ MEMBER

Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on

MOST POPULAR