One dollar, one vote? More like 46 million won

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One dollar, one vote? More like 46 million won

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Sure every vote counts, but for how much?

On average, each voter in the general elections will be casting a ballot to determine the fate of 46.6 million won ($38,400).

The amount is an estimate based on the National Assembly’s budget, divided by the number of eligible voters, as provided by the National Election Commission.

A total of 43,994,247 voters will be eligible to choose the 300 lawmakers who will control the 2,049.2 trillion won budget planned for the next four years.

There are 300 seats available in the National Assembly, with 253 seats to be occupied by local lawmakers and 47 by proportional representatives.

Each lawmaker will cost about 3.5 billion won over the next four years, including a legislator’s salary, expenses paid for legislative activities and the cost of maintaining each office and paying legislative assistants.

That amounts to a total of 1.4 trillion won paid to National Assembly members, enough money to give 100,000 won to every resident of Seoul.

The election itself will cost about 410.2 billion won. This money is used to prepare 27,700 ballot boxes, 75,300 voting booths, 2,000 machines to sort out votes and about 5,300 vote-counting machines. A workforce of nearly 550,000 is involved in putting on the big event.

To carve up that 410.2 billion won another way: 263.2 billion won will go toward voting-related equipment and infrastructure; 101.8 billion won will be used to pay back election expenses to qualified candidates; 44.1 billion will be spent on election grants for parties to pay for personnel and develop policies; and 110 million won will be distributed as subsidies to reward parties that nominate female candidates or people with disabilities.

The National Election Commission also distributes funds to candidates for local offices who win at least 10 percent of the vote. Candidates who win between 10 and 15 percent can be reimbursed 50 percent of their election costs. Those who won more than 15 percent of the votes are reimbursed the entire amount.

In the proportional representative elections, any party with at least one winning candidate is reimbursed all of its campaign costs.

BY KIM KI-HWAN [kang.jaeeun@joongang.co.kr]

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