Liberal group files petition to extend voting hours

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Liberal group files petition to extend voting hours

Lawyers for a Democratic Society, a private organization of liberal lawyers, filed a constitutional petition yesterday demanding an extension in the voting hours for the upcoming presidential election to allow more voters to cast their ballots.

Currently, the voting hours are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. but the lawyers want the period to be extended to 9 p.m.

“The political rights of many Koreans, including irregular and self-employed workers, are restricted because of limited voting hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., which has been left unchanged for some 40 years, failing to reflect social changes,” the legal group said in a statement yesterday.

“This violates voting rights, equal rights, freedom of political expression and the right to pursue happiness.”

The lawyers held a press conference yesterday in front of the Constitutional Court in Jongno District, central Seoul, before filing the petition signed by some 100 claimants.

Last month, Korea’s liberal presidential candidates - Moon Jae-in of the Democratic United Party and Ahn Cheol-soo, a professor-turned-politician - also called for an extension in the voting hours on Dec. 19, which they believe could raise younger voters’ turnout.

The conservatives, however, have been opposed to the move, saying that 12 hours is more than enough for a voter to cast a ballot since Election Day is designated as a national holiday.

By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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