South Korean Overseas Voter Turnout Highest Ever

Hyo Jin Lee, April 30, 2017, 11 a.m.

Overseas voter turnouts for the May 9 presidential election surpassed marks set in the previous presidential poll in Asia on Sunday, the final day of their absentee voting period. Voting for South Koreans residing overseas began on Tuesday in Auckland, New Zealand, with a total of 204 polling stations in 116 countries staying open.

This marked the fourth time South Korea has held overseas votes, after the parliamentary elections in 2012 and 2016 and the presidential poll in 2012. In 2012, 148,225 out of 222,389 registered overseas voters cast their ballots in the presidential election for a 71.1 percent turnout, according to the National Election Commission. This year, 294,633 voters have registered for the election.

According to the South Korean Embassy in China, 8,363 of 10,192 registered voters cast their votes, for an 82.1 percent turnout, the highest since the overseas ballotting began in 2012. The turnout in China at the 2012 presidential election was 68.3 percent.

Australia also saw high participation. According to the South Korean Consulate General in Sydney, 84.2 of the registered voters in Sydney and Brisbane voted, over 20 percentage points higher than the turnout at the 2012 election.

In Melbourne, nearly 83 percent of those who registered cast their ballots. Auckland, where the overseas ballotting began, had a 78.8 percent turnout.

The figure dipped slightly in Tokyo, according to officials in the Japanese capital. With 10,724 of the 15,807 registered voters having taken part, the turnout was 67.8 percent, down from 70.1 percent at the previous presidential poll.

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