Covid-related early voting irregularities reported in South Korea

by WorldTribune Staff, March 8, 2022

South Korea’s National Election Commission (NEC) reportedly mishandled ballots of Covid patients during early voting in the presidential election.

Some of the early voters were given ballots already filled in for ruling Democrats’ party candidate Lee Jae-Myung, reports said.

Two ballots received by a voter on March 5 during early voting. One of the ballots was already marked for Lee Jae-Myung.

Lee and Yoon Suk-Yeol of the conservative main opposition People Power Party are running neck-and-neck in the presidential race which is scheduled to be decided on March 9.

Like in the U.S., widespread 2020 evidence of voting system fraud in South Korea has been ignored by state-controlled media as well as governmental judicial authorities.

Related: Eerie parallels between U.S., South Korean elections foreshadowed in September 2020 webinar, February 15, 2021

The NEC admitted in a statement “that there were shortcomings in carrying out COVID-19 patients’ early voting due to the unprecedentedly high turnout and limits in personnel and facilities.”

Critics fear the irregularities could trigger another vote-rigging controversy. reported in May of 2020 on suspicions of election fraud in South Korea’s general election. The ruling party of leftist President Moon Jae-In won by a landslide in a parliamentary election that attracted the highest voter turn out in 28 years, despite being held during the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: Allegations of fraud in South Korean elections called warning on new voting technologies, May 8, 2020

Tara O of the East Asia Research Center reported some of the early-voting procedures that raised questions:

• Unlike the actual day of election, during pre-voting days, ballots are printed on-site for each voter.

• Koreans use a stamp with the person’s name (functions as a signature), in this case, it should be the local election commission manager’s stamp, on the ballots. But the stamp is pre-printed, rather than stamped afterwards.

•In some cases, the pre-printed stamp is a generic stamp, rather than the local election manager’s personal stamp with his/her name. This makes it difficult to trace back and to verify if there is an audit.

• Voters put their own ballots in a box through a slot. However, coronavirus-positive voters are told to hand the ballots to a third person, who works at voting locations, and told that the third person then will put the ballots in a ballot box; their words are supposed to be trusted, and there is no verification mechanism to see where their ballots go. This violates the National Election Law, Paragraph 157, Section 4.

• In addition to freshly printed ballots, these voters were also given an envelope that has another ballot that was already marked with Lee Jae-myung (#1, so the top line), the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (Deobureo Minju Party).

• Some of the ballots are not stored in secure, official containers.

Tara O noted: “At Shinsa 1-dong precinct, Unpyeong-gu, Seoul during 5-6 p.m. on March 5, a man stated that coronavirus-positive voters received ballots, but additionally, they also received a separate envelope, which had another ballot that was already marked with #1 Lee Jae-myung, with a stamp on it. (See photo at left). It happened to several people, so they contacted People Power Party, who sent a representative. The representative talked to the election commission workers and the police to halt the process to try to resolve the matter, but since there were people waiting to vote, the process continued.”

Another issue at the Shinsa 1-dong precinct was that voters were “told to hand over the voted ballots to the election workers, and trust that person to put the ballots in the box, instead of voters putting their ballots in the box directly,” Tara O wrote.

“A woman pointed out that another woman is carrying around her voted ballot, because she doesn’t want to transfer her ballot to someone else, because she knows she is supposed to put her ballot directly in the box herself. She and many other voters do not trust the National Election Commission nor their non-transparent practices. She does not know what else to do. The first woman stated that it happened to other voters, so they went home with the ballots, not knowing what to do, but they did not want to simply hand over their ballots to someone, because of concern that their ballots can simply disappear.”

Tara O cited local election workers as saying they did not know what was going on, and that the police would not get involved, stating it was an election commission issue.

Election monitors can stop the process if they discover problems, and one monitor did, Tara O noted, “but Lee Jae-Myung’s supporters hurled abuses at her, and went inside. The election commission workers overruled the monitor and continued the process for those who entered the building, finishing the voting at 6 p.m. Meanwhile, Covid-positive people who stood in line outside could not vote, and the polling booth closed.”

In South Korea, the head of the National Election Commission, Roh Jung-Hee, is also a sitting Supreme Court Justice.

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