Koreans Living Abroad Finally Get a Vote

Koreans living abroad will be permitted to participate in the voting process during next year’s parliamentary and presidential elections for the first time in the nation’s political history.

An estimated 2.4 million Korean expatriates, of which one million are currently believed to be living in the United States, will be eligible for voting in the elections and it is believed that even if as few as 30% of these overseas individuals participate in the elections their vote could have a significant impact on the final result.

At present the methods by which people will be permitted to vote has yet to be ironed out, with concerns already been raised as to the potential for votes to be rigged and the election process could become over-heated.

The new system will be of interest to both the 919,000 permanent overseas Korean residents and the 1.3 million people who are temporarily living abroad, such as students and employees of Korean official or private organizations. Those who wish to vote will need to register their interest with one of 158 Korean overseas missions designated by the National Election Commission during the next three months until Feb. 11 and then visit there again between March 28 and April 2 if they want to cast their ballots.