Participation of Minorities

National Survey on People with Disabilities, in 2014, estimated approximately 2.6 million persons in South Korea. Even though the Election Commission has a good implementation of arrangement for this group of people, however, the candidates are normally silent on disability issues.

According to Korea’s Public Official Election Act, the provisions aiming to promote participation of disabled voters in elections are as follows;

-Compilation of voter’s list is done by each local administrative district based on National Resident Registration System (Article 37, Public Official Election Act),

-For those who are unable to move freely on the ground of his/her serious physical disability and/or those who stay at hospital or nursing home may apply for voting at his/ her residence (Article 38),

-In making broadcast of the candidate’s campaign speeches, sign language or a caption may be aired for the hearing impaired electors (Article 72, paragraph 2),

-When the Election Debate Broadcasting Committee of each level holds interviews or debates, it may conduct a superimposed broadcasting or a sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired electors (Article 82-2, paragraph 12),

-The head of any of hospital, sanitarium, asylum, prison, or detention center, and residential facility for disabled persons should report the name and location of the institution or facility, the number of persons reported for polling at the abode, etc. to the competent Gu/Si/Gun election commission by not late than 3 days after the end of the period set for the preparation of the electoral register (Article 149, paragraph 1),

-If necessary for the elector who is unable to record his/ her vote in person due to a visual impairment, the Gu/Si/Gun election commission may make and use a special ballot paper or voting aid as prescribed by the National Election Commission Regulations (Article 151, paragraph 7),

-One who is unable to record his/ her vote for him/herself due to a visual or physical impairment may be accompanied by his/ her family or two persons nominated by him/ her to assist in his/ her voting (Article 157, paragraph 6).

The Election Commission ensures facilities for PWDs by ensuring polling stations are placed on the ground level, installing temporary polling booths at the entrance of a polling stations above ground level, furnishing the entrance of a polling station with temporary ramps for motorized scooters (wheelchairs), and installing special polling booths to make it accessible for motorized scooters (wheelchairs) to enter polling booth.


Tim Meisburger, Korean Elections: A Model of Best Practice, The Asia Foundation, (Apr. 20, 2015),

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