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Lament to outdated election rigging practices

Posted May. 31, 2022 08:01,   

Updated May. 31, 2022 08:01


With only a few days left for the June 1 local election, news on illegal election campaign is pouring out from all over across the nation, which includes distribution of money and valuables for election rigging. There was even a case of village foreman who deceived his village people and used their names for vote by posting. Such election rigging cases are particularly high in areas where the number of voters are small since the results would be decided with a slim margin and where the population of senior citizens are relatively large.

Mr. A, a campaign worker for a county governor candidate of Damyang, South Jeolla Province was arrested while carrying 12.25 million won in cash in his van. The police found around 40 envelopes each containing 150,000 won and some other envelope with millions of won in the car. In another case from Jangsu, North Jeolla Province, two volunteer workers for election campaign have been under investigation for distributing money and valuables while storing large amount of cash. In Uiseong, North Gyeongsang Province, a person working for a county councilor’s election was reported for allegedly offering cash of 200,000~300,000 won to other people asking for support with their vote.

The most lamentable election rigging of all occurred in Gunwi, North Gyeongsang Province. A brother-in-law of a county governor candidate was arrested for bribing voters with cash, while a village foreman is investigated for voting under other voters’ name. The foreman secretly registered five seniors of the village for vote by mail, stole the ballots delivered to their addresses, and casted the vote at his discretion. This election scam was uncovered when the voters went for early-voting and found somebody else had already voted using their names. The heaven knows why the foreman did what he did. False resident registration cases, where a county sees sudden rise and drop of population before and after election are also common.


Many say that the upcoming local election is an extension of the presidential election, which took place in March, thus the actual locality is not the focus. It raises concerns that while everyone’s eye is looking at what is happening in the national politics, other provinces are becoming subject for all sorts of illegalities. Furthermore, the recent election rigging cases found are too brazenly; there are possibilities that the uncovered bribing and vote scamming may be only the tip of the iceberg of what is really going on underneath.

We are only a day before the actual election day. When the results are decided by only one or two percentage margins, some illegal actions may take place at the last minute to rig the vote. The impact of bribery gets bigger when the constituency gets smaller as large portion of them are closely inter-connected with kinship, regionalism and school relations. Now is past the time for Korea to break away itself from the stained history with outdated election culture from the 1960s-70s, where election was rigged by offering rubber shoes and rice wines. At present days, voters who can be fined maximum 30 million won for receiving bribery. Back in 2008, about 1,500 residents of Cheongdo, North Gyeongsang Provinces were charged with criminal cases for receiving valuables before election. Voters should be the first one to raise the awareness and make things right to make this election process to be fair and transparent.