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Self-isolating S. Koreans vote after regular election hours amid coronavirus fears

All News 20:44 April 15, 2020

SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) -- Fears of the coronavirus didn't stop South Koreans even in self-isolation from voting Wednesday.

A prerequisite was that those who were self-isolating cast their ballots after the regular voting hours that ended at 6 p.m. They were required to arrive at designated polling stations on foot or by their own cars to avoid contact with others.

A total of 59,918 eligible voters nationwide were subject to the quarantine rules aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 as of the day before. Among them, 13,642, or 22.8 percent, informed the election authorities of their intention to go to the polls.

They were allowed to go out for voting between 5:20 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Voters subject to self-quarantine measures wait to cast their ballots at a polling station set up at a park in eastern Seoul on April 15, 2020. (Yonhap)

One woman showed up at a high school in the central Seoul district of Jongno wearing a hat and face mask. She was asked to wait outside the polling zone until 6 p.m. A poll worker then checked her identification and temperature, with her hands disinfected, before giving her a voting slip. A separate polling booth was set up on the schoolyard for voters in self-isolation,

A 31-year-old student who flew back home from Canada early this month took a 10-minute walk to a polling place in the western Seoul district of Yeongdengpo.

"I thought I could not vote due to self-isolation. But I am really happy to be able to exercise my right to vote," she said.

Self-isolators were required to return home by 7 p.m. and notify civil servants of their arrival via smartphone apps or text messages.

Poll workers disinfect a polling zone in eastern Seoul before voters under self-quarantine measures cast their ballots on April 15, 2020. (Yonhap)
A South Korean man in self-isolation gets his temperature checked at a polling station in Seoul on April 15, 2020. (Yonhap)

lcd@yna.co.kr
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