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Korean legislative election opens for overseas voters in San Jose

2024.04.06 07:01:47 Yujun Lee

[Jr. PUACSF volunteers and the consul are posing for a photo in front of the polling place. Photo Credit: Yujun Lee]

From March 29th to March 31st, 2024, the South Korean legislative election opened at KOTRA Silicon Valley in San Jose, California, for overseas voters residing in this region.


This election is the 22nd legislative election in South Korea, and it aims to elect the 300 seats of the Korean National Assembly, whose members will serve for the next four years.


Out of 300 seats in the National Assembly, 254 are constituency seats, where candidates run to represent one of 254 constituencies or electoral districts across the nation.


The remaining 46 seats are elected by proportional representation, which considers all votes nationwide and allocates seats to each political party based on the proportion of votes received.


During the election, each voter's vote counts for both the constituency candidate of their region and the proportional seats.


Koreans living outside Korea can still vote, with the restriction that they must be Korean citizens aged 18 or above and have registered to vote prior to the election.


Registration took place from November 12th, 2023, to February 10th, 2024.


There are 158 diplomatic offices with 220 polling places worldwide for voting.


Although they currently don't reside in Korea, citizens can still vote for both the constituency candidate and the proportional seats.


The constituency candidate they vote for is based on their last reported address before leaving the country.


The main difference between overseas voting and voting in Korea is the date.


In Korea, the election spans three days: the early election on April 5th and 6th, 2024, and the general election on April 10th, 2024.


Overseas elections happen a few days earlier to ensure votes are sent to Korea for counting.


Voting at KOTRA Silicon Valley, the designated polling place located in San Jose, California, is open for three days from March 29th to 31st, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


However, voting at the Korean consulate in San Francisco, the nearest consulate from San Jose, is open for a longer period, from March 27th to April 1st.


In San Jose, community members helped streamline the election process.


For example, the Junior Peaceful Unification Advisory Council San Francisco Chapter (Jr. PUACSF), led by President Lauren Lee, an organization of middle and high school students under PUACSF, led by President Chumkyun Choi, volunteered for all three days of the election.


A total of twenty-five students from this organization volunteered at polling places in San Jose, CA, and Sacramento, CA.


They helped guide the voters to the polling place, provided information on voting requirements, and offered general support.


Voting is a key aspect of democracy, where every vote matters.


The Korean government’s budget for 2023 was about 640 trillion won.


Assuming a similar budget for the next four years, the period in which the members elected this year will serve, the budget would be about 2.5 quadrillion won.


With approximately 40 million eligible voters, each vote is valued at about 64 million won or about 47,500 dollars as of March 31st, highlighting the importance of voting.

Yujun Lee / Grade 10
Homestead High School