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

All News 03:01 April 16, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS dateline; UPDATES with more info in para 4)

SEOUL, April 16 (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, about 13,800, or 23 percent, informed the election authorities of their intention to go to the polls. Of them, 11,151 people or 80.9 percent cast their ballots, according to the interior ministry.

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)


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