Lowest Voter Turnout Ever

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Lowest Voter Turnout Ever

The Central Election Management Committee (CEMC) announced that this year's general elections will likely have the lowest voter turnout in Korea since the statistics were collected.

Voter turnout was at 44.6 percent at 3:00 p.m. on April 13, down 3.1 percent from the same time in the 1996 elections.

"If the rate continues, we can expect a turnout of less than 60 percent at the end of the day.

There has never been a voter turnout under 60 percent since the launch of the national assembly. Only 52.7 percent of eligible voters cast their ballot at the 1998 provincial elections.

Voter apathy is on the rise, with an 84.6 percent turnout at the 1984 general elections, 75.8 percent in 1988, 71.9 percent in 1992, and 63.9 percent in 1996.

CEMC explains the falling figures to new public access to information, including a politician's military, criminal, and financial records.

"The disclosure of a candidate's records created distrust and disgust among the public," said an unidentified CEMC official.

The traditional disparity between voter turnout in urban and rural areas decreased this year.

Provincial areas in Kangwon, Chungchong, Cholla, Kyongsang and Cheju saw a rise in voter participation, while large cities in the regions experienced an opposite effect.

The lowest number of voters was recorded in the Seoul Metropolitan Area, with only 40.6 percent. Inchon and Kyonggi-do had a turnout of 41.1 and 41.8 percent, respectively.

The highest turnout in the nation was in Shinan, South Cholla Province, with 68.7 percent. The lowest participation was in Nowon, Seoul with 34.7 percent.

by Lee Chong-min

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