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Factions implied in mobile voting

Posted September. 24, 2014 03:25,   


Estonia, a Baltic state, is small in size with the half the size of South Korea and the population of only 1.3 million. It is, however, a leader in information technology. Some voters in Estonia voted at home for the first time in the world in the 2007 general elections. (The U.K. introduced online voting for local elections in 2002.) Estonia was the world’s first country to introduce mobile voting in the 2011 general elections.

In Korea, the liberal United New Democratic Party adopted mobile voting in the party election in 2007 to select its presidential candidate on a limited basis. In 2012, Rep. Kim Han-gil topped in the offline voting in the June 9 party convention of the Democratic United Party, but he could not become the party’s leader because he lost to Rep. Lee Hae-chan, who was a supporter of former President Roh Moo-hyun, in the mobile voting. Back then, some deplored that the party’s power gave way to mobile power. Mobile voting has an advantage in that it satisfies people’s desire to participate directly in political decisions. It is also criticized, however, as it is difficult to confirm voters’ residence and encourages proxy voting, open voting, and vote-buying.

Rep. Moon Jae-in benefited from mobile voting in the primary of the Democratic United Party in 2012, beating his competitors such as Sohn Hak-kyu, Kim Doo-kwan, and Chung Sey-kyun. But after the party lost in the 2012 presidential election, Moon Hee-sang, the then chairman of the emergency committee, abolished mobile voting in the party member vote. Park Jie-won, a member of the emergency committee of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, said directly on Twitter, “I asked Moon to be careful about making his official and private comments. Mobile voting in a party convention has a big problem and was not even discussed in the emergency committee.” It was his response to Moon’s interview implying a reconsideration of mobile voting with the Dong-A Ilbo on Sunday, saying, “Mobile voting is simpler than anything if the tricky part in vote counting is addressed.”

Some say that Moon who has stressed the abolition of party factions finally revealed his pro-Roh tendency by implying the reintroduction of mobile voting. Others see that it is the harbinger of a power struggle for next year’s party convention and the 2017 presidential election. Whether it is mobile voting or offline voting, it is up to the NPAD. However, competition should be made on a level playing field and it should be fair to block proxy voting.