Your vote counts

Home > Opinion > Editorials

print dictionary print

Your vote counts

Today is Election Day. Voters must choose qualified candidates for heads of municipal governments and representatives of large and small city councils across the country. Since they are directly involved in devising effective policies for local residents, voters must exercise their voting rights prudently.

Each vote counts in picking leaders of local governments administering a whopping 1,240 trillion won ($1 trillion) for residents over the next four years. That amounts to 28 million won per voter. As more than 1 trillion won should be added to the figure in order to administer the nationwide elections, voters must weigh candidates very carefully.

As 20.62 percent of voters already cast their ballots in the preliminary voting on Friday and Saturday, we hope such a brisk pace continues today. In the last local elections in 2018, voter turnout was 20.14 percent.

But local elections this time rang alarms for our “grassroots democracy” as they appear to be an extension of the neck-and-neck presidential election on March 9. In today’s local elections, held 22 days after the launch of the conservative Yoon Suk-yeol administration, former presidential contenders — including Lee Jae-myung, Hong Joon-pyo, Ahn Cheol-soo and Kim Dong-yeon — are all running.

As a result, major political parties have approached the local elections as if they are an extended battle of central government politics. After Kwon Seong-dong, floor leader of the People Power Party (PPP), appealed to voters to “complete our victory in the presidential election with another triumph in the local elections,” Yoon Ho-joong, head of the emergency committee of the Democratic Party (DP), urged voters to “block the country from degenerating into a country for the privileged class as seen in the military dictatorship of the past.”

In this election, 509 candidates were already declared winners in as many as 321 constituencies after the PPP and the DP alternately nominated their candidates depending on the likelihood of victory of their candidates. The number of candidates declared winners even without voting is six times larger than that of the last local elections. The monopoly of the two parties in local elections casts a dark shadow over the future of our local autonomy because it critically restricts voter rights to choose. That’s not all. A total of 30.1 percent of candidates already declared winners before election day have criminal records.

Voters must deliberate carefully before actually voting.

A knee-jerk vote for candidates from certain parties must be avoided. Voters must choose their favorites from up to eight ballots this time. They must not forget that their vote counts.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)