The Effect of Early Voting on Turnout in South Korea

Dr. Sangjoon Ka 

South Korea implemented the early voting system in 2013 to allow voters to participate in election during a longer time period. The fact that some employees did not have an opportunity to cast ballot on Election Day due to their works causes inequality in political participation and representation. Decision-makers believe that early voting increases turnout and resolves the inequality problem. However, many researchers have shown that early voting has no effect on turnout; furthermore, it is associated with lower turnout. This runs against conventional wisdom that more voters cast ballot when voting is easier and barrier to participate in election is removed. It was expected that the system had a positive effect on turnout in the 2014 Local Election. Accordingly it is expect that the early voting system have an influence in voter turnout in the 2016 National Assembly Election. However, no scholar has shown the effect of early voting in South Korea which has been experiencing low participation in election. This paper aims at examining whether early voting increased voting turnout in South Korea and who got benefit from early voting.