|Voters wait in a line to cast their ballots during an early voting for the April 15 general elections at a polling station at Seoul Station, April 10. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul|
By Park Han-sol
More than nine in 10 voters believed that early voting in the April 15 general election encouraged them to participate, according to a survey released by the National Election Commission (NEC), Tuesday.
The survey was conducted after early voting for this election recorded the highest turnout ever ― 26.69 percent ― since the system was introduced in 2013. This also contributed to the highest total turnout for a general election since 1992 at 66.2 percent, despite the coronavirus pandemic and the need for social distancing.
In the survey of 1,500 eligible voters from April 16 to May 6 by Gallup Korea following an NEC request, 93.3 percent of respondents said early voting helped more people to participate in the poll, up 6.2 percentage points from a similar poll conducted after the general election four years ago.
Among reasons for choosing early voting, 41.1 percent said they might not have been able to vote on the actual election day due to other activities.
When asked whether the early voting system needs improvement, 64 percent said they were satisfied with the current one, while 17.7 percent thought the NEC should increase the number of early polling stations and 11.4 percent wanted the voting period to be extended.
More than 41 percent of those surveyed said they had decided on who to vote for about three weeks before the election. As to why they made their decision, 41.9 percent cited the candidates' parties, 24.6 percent said the candidate's capability and 20.7 percent, their campaign pledges.