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Voting Age Will Be Lowered to 19

Posted July. 20, 2003 21:32,   


The National Election Commission (NEC) announced a set of reform measures that are intended to ease a lot of regulations on election campaign but at the same time to restrict and verify campaign funds strictly. According to the reform measures, campaign activities for parliament election will be allowed to start six months prior to the election day and in the case of presidential elections, such activities will be allowed as early as a year before.

And the commission is also trying to expand opportunities for prospective candidates to raise funds but they should disclose donors who contribute more than one million won at a time or more than five million won for a year.

The NEC proposed to lower the minimum voting age from current 20 to 19 and to introduce voting by mail for voters staying in foreign countries in presidential elections and legislative elections by proportional representation. In the proportional representation elections, voters will mark a party that they support.

As the NEC is scheduled to present the set of measures to the National Assembly in August, whether political circles would accept the reform measures is being watched with keen interest.

According to the measures, all candidates should use only one bank account and appoint one person in charge of accounting for strict verification of campaign funds. All transactions related to campaign funds should be through bank account. When a donor contributes more than one million won, or a candidate spends more than 500,000 won, methods such as checks, credit cards, and money transfers through banks should be used.

In an attempt to punish those who violate campaign expense rules, the commission suggested that if candidates guilty of violating campaign fund rules win the election, their election should be invalidated.

Min-Hyuk Park mhpark@donga.com