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Voter registration to begin for S. Koreans overseas

Voter registration will begin Sunday for South Koreans living abroad in preparation for the April general elections, the first poll in which overseas citizens will be allowed to cast ballots, the National Election Commission said.
South Korea enacted a law in 2009 that grants citizens in foreign countries the right to vote in general and presidential votes. About 2.2 million expatriates over the age of 19 are expected to qualify to vote in the country's April 11 general election, the election watchdog said.

To be eligible to vote, expatriates have to register with the embassy in their jurisdiction, while those who are overseas for study or work on election day can either visit a consular office or register by mail for absentee voting.

Registration will run through Feb. 11 at 158 Korean embassies in 107 nations, it said.

Voting for expatriates and absentees abroad will take place from March 28 to April 2 at polling stations to be set up at consular offices. Those living in 70 nations where South Korea does not have consular offices are unable to vote as voting is allowed only at polling stations.

In a bid to regulate potential illegal electioneering, the NEC said it dispatched commission officials to 55 offices in 28 nations and established an electronic system linking 158 offices worldwide.

The presidential vote is scheduled for December. It is the first time in 20 years that the parliamentary and presidential elections occur in the same year. (Yonhap News)

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