A young voter’s guide to the 20th Korean presidential election: Everything you need to know

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Cherlin Kim, Reporter

On March 9, South Korea’s 20th presidential election will begin. The four front runners are currently Lee Jae-myung, Yoon Suk-yeol, Sim Sang-jung, and Ahn Cheol-soo. As of Feb. 22, Lee and Yoon take the lead with 42.7 and 42.6 percent public support respectively.

Starting 2019, South Korea lowered the voting age from 19 to 18, enabling Korean high school seniors born before March 10, 2004 to participate in this term election. With Lee and Yoon receiving virtually equal support in their campaigns, young voters’ participation will be vital in changing the potential outcome. 

With many of the eligible voters in quarantine, those infected will be permitted to enter polling stations to cast their ballots on March 9—but only from 6 to 7:30 pm due to mandated COVID-19 regulations.  

The official National Election Commission website provides a “Find My Polling Place” service for all voters to locate their designated polling stations based on their registered address. 

The leading candidates introduce new policies in their campaigns: Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung promises to distribute a universal basic income of, at most, 2 million won per year to all South Korean citizens, whereas Yoon Suk-yeol, nominee for the People Power Party, hopes to aid businesses through budget restructuring. 

Sim Sang-jung of the Justice Party pledges to end the two-party system to bring more direct power to citizens. Lastly, Ahn Cheol-soo, supporting the People’s Party, hopes to transform South Korea into a more technologically advanced country.