Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(3rd LD) Assembly panel passes bill allowing COVID-19 patients to vote between 6-7:30 p.m. in presidential election

All News 19:07 February 10, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES lead; ADDS more info in paras 3-7; 2nd photo)

SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) -- A parliamentary panel on Thursday passed a bill to allow COVID-19 patients and people in quarantine to vote from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the day of the March 9 presidential election after regular polling closes.

The revision to the Public Official Election Act passed the National Assembly's special political reform committee.

In order to cast their votes, virus patients and quarantined people need to get temporary leave permits from health authorities.

However, quarantined people living in rural areas with mobility difficulties are permitted to cast their votes before 6 p.m.

The bill will now go through the parliamentary legislation and judiciary committee before being put to a vote at a plenary session of the National Assembly next Monday.

The revision came amid concerns that the ongoing virus situation may prevent hundreds of thousands people from casting their ballots on election day.

Currently, it is virtually impossible for those who test positive for COVID-19 after the early voting period, which falls on March 4-5, and for people who go into self-isolation just before the March 9 presidential election to cast their votes.

This file photo shows a person casting their ballot in an election. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows a person casting their ballot in an election. (Yonhap)

The ruling and opposition parties had earlier proposed a revision to extend voting hours by three hours until 9 p.m. on March 9 to accommodate COVID-19 patients and those in self-isolation.

But the National Election Commission, the election watchdog, rejected that proposal citing staffing and cost issues, leading the parties to shorten the hours.

The move comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant.

South Korea reported a record high of 54,122 new daily cases Thursday, raising its total infections to 1,185,361, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday called for measures to guarantee the voting rights of COVID-19 patients and people in self-isolation.

Lawmakers at the legislative subcommittee of the parliamentary special political reform committee review plans at the National Assembly in Seoul on Feb. 10, 2022, to allow virus patients and quarantined people to cast their votes in the upcoming presidential election. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Lawmakers at the legislative subcommittee of the parliamentary special political reform committee review plans at the National Assembly in Seoul on Feb. 10, 2022, to allow virus patients and quarantined people to cast their votes in the upcoming presidential election. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
(END)

HOME TOP
Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!