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(4th LD) Voter turnout hits 62.6 pct in general elections as of 5 p.m.

All News 17:35 April 15, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES with more info throughout)
By Choi Soo-hyang

SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) -- Voter turnout for the parliamentary elections Wednesday reached 62.6 percent as of 5 p.m., the highest turnout of elections conducted since 2000, the National Election Commission (NEC) said.

According to the commission, some 27.5 million South Koreans had completed casting ballots with one hour left for the voting at 14,330 polling stations nationwide in crucial elections that are seen as a referendum on President Moon Jae-in amid the country's fight against the new coronavirus.

The voter turnout hit a record high for nationwide elections conducted since 2000.

The figure includes part of a record high turnout of 26.69 percent in last week's two-day early voting, as well as votes by overseas South Korean nationals and those aboard ships, the NEC said.

Wednesday's turnout already topped the 2016 elections' 58 percent and surpassed 60 percent for the first time since 2004 when the turnout reached 60.6 percent in the parliamentary elections.

This year, a total of 44 million people were eligible to vote in the elections.

The voting, which began at 6 a.m., was to end at 6 p.m.

People under self-quarantine due to the virus will be allowed to cast ballots after the regular voting ends, if they have no symptoms and have expressed a willingness to vote.

Vote counting was expected to begin at around 6:30 p.m.

This photo, taken on April 15, 2020, shows a polling booth to be exclusively used by voters under self-isolation due to symptoms of the new coronavirus outside a polling station in Seoul's Jongno Ward, as South Korea holds general elections the same day amid the outbreak of the new coronavirus. The voters under self-isolation are allowed to cast ballots after 6 p.m., when the voting ends. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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