Today, April 11th is the congressional elections in South Korea. We voted for a party and congressman. I like the elections here. It’s peaceful, efficient and fast – the total opposite of the elections in my home country. I don’t remember hearing any candidate getting killed nor did I see tons of posters in public places. The Philippines could learn a lot from how an election is held in South Korea.
The Campaign. Announcement of candidates was held on March 22nd. That was also when the two-week campaign started. The list of the candidates and their profiles, including their wealth and income, were posted on the National Election Commission‘s website. (Not available now)
Instead of posters scattered around the city, there are designated places where they are displayed. The one below is a reusable banner. Individual posters are inserted in the vinyl pockets.
The congressional candidate campaigned using a truck, with its own sound system, parked at a busy place. The one below shows the campaign truck at an intersection.
The supporters are dressed in uniforms and they hand out name cards to passersby. They also danced to the campaign song.
Making A Choice. Since we didn’t really have time to listen to the candidate during the campaign, we relied on the materials sent by the Election Commission. We received the packet about a week before the elections. Inside are a sheet with the information where we are supposed to vote and pamphlets provided by the candidates. We read all the pamphlets of the candidates but we only chose to read three of the parties. We even discussed why we should vote for the candidate and the party.
Election Day. The poll is open from 6AM to 6PM. The whole voting process took only two and a half minutes of my time. It made me wonder why only 54% of the voting population chose to vote. I had experienced being in the voting precinct for more than five hours in the past. I presented my ID to one of the officials. Then he passed it to another person to recheck. I was told to get the voting sheets at another table. I was given two papers – one for the party list and another one for the congressional candidate. I was about to take a picture but then I saw the “No camera” sign in the booth. Still, I could’ve taken a picture but I didn’t. Casting the vote was so easy. I just had to stamp on my choices. Then I dropped the papers in the big box and greeted the old man manning the box goodbye.
Later this year, we’ll have another Korean election. We are going to vote for the next President of the Republic of Korea.