An opinion poll conducted by the National Election Commission last week showed that just 14 percent of voters know most of the local elections candidates running in their constituencies. Because voters are hardly aware of candidates and the election process is complicated, fears are growing that Wednesdays local elections will post the lowest voter turnout in the countrys history. In particular, many voters seem confused over the roles education board members will play and whom to vote for. One party can field multiple candidates for members of provincial and municipal councils and two to three members are elected per constituency, but a voter can vote for only one candidate. Candidates from the same party come with numbers such as 2-A or 2-B, so this can confuse voters about whom to vote for.
Thick envelopes containing official election documents have been mailed to homes by the election watchdog. If families get together and discuss whom to vote for while reviewing the documents Tuesday night, this will allow them to come up with good ideas and give children an educational opportunity. If voters can closely examine the credibility of each and every candidate along with their children, they can use the local elections as a practical opportunity to teach democracy. Higher election participation by voters who carefully check the documents and consider the candidates most qualified to serve national interests rather than merely blame politicians will help advance Koreas burgeoning democracy.
Voters must feel a sense of responsibility given that 97 (42.2 percent) of the 230 local autonomous government chiefs elected in the last local elections have been indicted for illegal activities and corruption. Under no circumstance should the people elect an opportunistic candidate who wants to serve the interests of legislators from his or her respective district or his or her own interests.
Voters must be courageous in filtering out candidates who make unrealistic campaign promises, waste taxpayers money, burden the national budget, and spoil education. Voting will start at 6 a.m. Wednesday. Since fine weather is expected, a good idea is for people to vote and then go on a picnic. Those in their early 20s, who will vote for the first time, will feel rewarded if they can start new politics of their own free will by casting their ballots.