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Get out and vote

May 04,2017
As the presidential election nears, the number of undecided voters is at its highest level yet. Over 20 percent of those polled say they have yet to settle on a candidate and another 30 percent think they could change their mind at the last minute.

Both the candidates and voters have been under an unusually tight schedule as the presidential election started seven months ahead of the original date after the Constitutional Court upheld the legislative impeachment motion and removed the sitting president from office on March 10. The TV debates that served as one of the only channel to help voters’ choose a candidate were wasted on negative campaigning and mudslinging. Most complain they cannot find a candidate fit to be their leader. Such indecisiveness could lead to abstention. Many who abstain could be conservatives or senior citizens as there is no strong conservative candidate.

Voting is the foundation of democracy, and none of the eligible voters should neglect their duty and right. If there is no best, one should settle for the second best. Whatever the reason, voters should head to the polling station with the obligation to elect their president. Even if one’s choice is not elected president, the vote does not go to waste.

The candidate who loses but nevertheless commands a substantial amount of votes could pose a formidable challenge to the president during their term. We need not quote Abraham Lincoln, who said the ballot is stronger than the bullet, to emphasize on the importance of voting. Each vote makes up a democracy.

Voter turnout is more crucial for the upcoming election than it has been for any other election prior. The next president must restore the dignity of the presidential title and government, which have been shamefully disgraced by the impeachment, to normalize state affairs. If the president is elected through a low turnout, the nominee’s legitimacy will be challenged and will give the president trouble throughout his or her term.

It is therefore important for every eligible voter to contribute their ballot. Early voting is scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Voters who cannot vote on the official election day must study the platforms and make their choice. They could check out their mail package or read up on the campaign pledges by all the candidates at the official website: policy.nec.go.kr.

Polling centers can be located through the election information app. False and questionable polls, surveys and news have been rampant throughout the campaign. Voters should do their own research and believe in their own good judgment to make their choices.

JoongAng Ilbo, May 4, Page 30