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(2nd LD) S. Korea records highest voter turnout of early voting

All Headlines 19:33 April 09, 2016

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES with more information throughout)

SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea recorded its highest voter turnout of 12.2 percent during an early voting for the April 13 parliamentary elections, the national election watchdog said Saturday.

During the two-day early voting period from Friday to Saturday, 5.13 million out of the 42.1 million eligible voters cast their ballots at 3,511 polling stations across the country, the National Election Commission (NEC) said.

It marked the highest turnout since 2013 when the early voting system was first adopted for by-elections, the NEC said. The total turnout of early voting for the local elections in June 2014 was 4.75 percent.

The higher-than-expected rate is anticipated to serve as a key variable in the upcoming elections, as many voters have yet to choose a candidate in their electorates.

A recent poll released by Gallup Korea showed that about a quarter of respondents were unsure of which candidate or party they will support, pointing to a large number of swing voters from both the conservative and liberal sides.

The early voting system is different from absentee voting in that it does not require voters to sign up in advance.

Eligible voters who may be busy or away on election day, which falls on Wednesday, can simply show up at a polling station during the pre-voting period and cast their ballots.

The ballots will be kept by the election watchdog until vote counting officially begins after the April 13 polls.

khj@yna.co.kr
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