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  • Seoul Ensures Safe Mayoral By-election to Protect Everyone’s Voting Rights

  • Press Releases SMG 180
    • For virus-free mayoral by-election, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will disinfect every polling station, require voters to wear a mask and plastic gloves, check their body temperature, and separate patients from other people
    • Special stations for pre-voting will be installed at five Life Treatment Centers, and mail-in voting will be available for COVID-19 patients
    • On April 7, the election day, people in self-quarantine will be able to head to the polls if they show no symptom of COVID-19
    • Seo Jung-hyup, the Acting Mayor of Seoul, will visit Seoul Youth Hostel Life Treatment Center in Namsan for an on-site inspection of a special station

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, March 23, 2021 – With around two and a half weeks left until the April 7 mayoral by-election, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) came up with COVID-19 safety measures to hold the election without any coronavirus outbreak. The steps were designed allow not only the general voters but also COVID-19 patients and those in self-quarantine to cast their ballots. Seo Jung-hyup, the Acting Mayor of Seoul, will visit Seoul Youth Hostel Life Treatment Center in Namsan to check one of the five special stations for pre-voting.

    SMG’s safety measures consist of protocols for ① polling stations ② COVID-19 patients, ③ and people in self-quarantine. First, at 424 pre-voting centers and 2,259 regular polling stations, strict containment measures are set to be implemented. During the early and regular voting period, Seoul will disinfect the centers, check voters’ body temperature, and require queuing voters to keep a safe distance from each other. Workers and poll atchers at the stations must be tested for COVID-19 before they start to work. Also, they should work with a mask and plastic gloves on while minimizing contact with voters. Voters who show symptoms of COVID-19, such as high body temperature, will be escorted to a separate polling booth inside the station.

    Second, to uphold the voting rights of coronavirus patients who are getting treatments in the Life Treatment Centers, the SMG plans to install special stations for pre-voting at five centers in the capital. Thanks to the special stations, patients being treated in the centers will be able to head to the polls. While patients are voting, the city government will ensure they do not cross paths with one another.

    During April’s by-election, extended postal voting* will be introduced. For this, COVID-19 patients, along with citizens with reduced mobility in hospitals and care facilities, were asked to pre-register between March 16 and 20.

    *The Korean vote-by-mail system was initially initiated to help voters at hospitals and nursing homes cast their ballots without leaving their residence.

    Third, the SMG will partly lift its stay-at-home order for people in quarantine. It will be a temporary lift of order confined to the election day. Therefore, on Wednesday, April 7, selfquarantining citizens without fever or any respiratory symptom will be allowed to vote in case they can reach the polling station in 30 minutes either on foot or by car. Those who want to cast a vote should register at their district office in advance so that the office can separate them completely from other voters on the election day.

    The Acting Mayor Seo stressed that “the Seoul Metropolitan Government will safeguard the voting right of every citizen by running special stations for pre-voting at five Life Treatment Centers. Also, we are preparing methods to make sure people in self-quarantine can exercise their political rights unless they show symptoms of COVID-19.”