Very Expensive Political Theater

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#2 Trumps #3Today is Election Day for everyone from mayors to school board members throughout South Korea. It’s a day off from work, but judging from the four pages of ballots the more than 38,861,000 eligible voters have to deal with, it might take all day.

Each voter will be required to fill in four different ballot sheets in each of the two rounds of voting to select representatives for local governments and councils.

#2 Trumps #3Today is Election Day for everyone from mayors to school board members throughout South Korea. It’s a day off from work, but judging from the four pages of ballots the more than 38,861,000 eligible voters have to deal with, it might take all day.

Each voter will be required to fill in four different ballot sheets in each of the two rounds of voting to select representatives for local governments and councils.

After presenting a valid ID, voters will be given four sheets for the first round of voting in which they will pick an education superintendent, a member of the education board and two council members ― one representing the province or city, the other for a smaller constituency, such as a county.

After marking the four sheets, voters will be required to put them in the ballot box.

Then they will move on to the next round of voting, in which they will select four more local representatives, including a governor, mayor or smaller administrative district chief, as well as party preferences for two councilors under the proportional representation system.

Gord Sellar has also colorfully expressed his feelings about another aspect of this – by South Korean standards $690 million is expensive – election. From a campaign jingle based on “Frosty the Snowman” I heard last night to the cacophony of visual noise, sometimes heaped atop another candidates’, on banners, bus panels, vans, sashes, t-shirts, business cards, and hand bills, a casual observer might think these elections are a sign of a healthy political culture. But, the noise obscures a lack of intelligent discourse.

It’s baffling that anything that might “affect the outcome of the elections” is banned, and this must, surely, be a poor translation or wording. I saw the candidates for the position of Mayor of Seoul on TV only a few weeks ago; I’m pretty sure it’d be illegal for me to post here what I thought of them — which ones seemed like Stepford Politicians ™ and which ones seemed a little more passable — but it’s also irrelevant… current events like a sunken submarine seem to have pushed things in one direction, and we can all guess which direction that is.

…Meanwhile, the election law also seems hellbent on preventing people from getting any real sense of the candidates: using Twitter as part of a campaign prior to 180 days before the election is forbidden. It was, apparently, a restriction intended to prevent rich people from taking advantage of the long lead-in to distribute materials. In the age of Social Networking, distributing information is free. Time to join planet earth in the 21st century, guys.

That’s a whole lot of money to spend on what most people don’t know how to do and for people and posts most people don’t recognize.

Filed under: Korea, Politics Tagged: elections, rok, South Korea



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