In the quadrennial local and gubernatorial elections and by-elections this year, South Korea is electing 4,028 local administrative, legislative and educational officials, and 9,363 candidates made their bids for the positions, according to the National Election Commission.
According to the NEC, this year’s budget for the elections was 1.7 trillion won ($1.58 billion), of which 511 billion won was used for voting facilities, staff and necessary materials. As by-elections for parliamentary representatives of 12 regions were also held, 6.7 billion won was also included in the planned budget.
With the number of eligible voters coming in at just over 42.9 million, it is calculated that 25,000 won was spent for each voter. As for the value of each ballot, the election watchdog explained it was worth about 28.9 million won. The figure is derived by multiplying the combined annual budgets of local governments, 310 trillion won this year, by four -- the number of years in the terms of officials elected in local elections – and then dividing by the number of eligible voters.
Across the nation, 3,512 polling stations were installed during the two-day early voting, which was held Friday and Saturday. As for Wednesday’s voting, 14,134 stations were set up and the ballots were to be counted in 254 ballot counting headquarters.
In this year’s election, the largest number of non-Korean national residents were given voting rights -- 106,205. The country allows those who have held resident visas (F-5) for at least three years to vote for politicians in their registered local constituencies. The figure has doubled from 48,428 recorded for the 2014 local elections.
The NEC also reported that 14,728 tons of paper have been used for the ballots and election campaign posters of candidates. Taking into account that about 17 trees are needed to produce 1 ton of paper, about 250,376 trees were probably cut down for the elections.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)