Voters Living Abroad

Overseas South Koreans became eligible to participate in domestic parliamentary and presidential elections after related legislation was passed by the National Assembly in 2009. In 2016, according to the National Election Commission (NEC), there were 154,217 people or 7.8 % of some 1.98 million eligible overseas citizens registered to cast votes.

According to the NEC, eligible voters are overseas citizens who have Korean citizenship and who reside or stay outside the country. The registration can be done both in-person at any Korean consulate, online and through mail.

To cast votes, the registered voters are required to bring a valid form of photo identification such as passport or a resident registration card and visit a nearby polling station.

In 2016, 41.4% of overseas voters have cast their ballot, accounting for around 3.2% of total Korean voters. According to the NEC, 63,797 out of 154,217 registered overseas Koreans participated in the six-day poll that took place at 198 polling stations in 113 countries worldwide.

The highest voter turnout by regional groups was posted in African countries at 69.3 percent. The Middle East followed at 66.3 percent with Europe at 60.2 percent, according to the commission. In the Americas and Asia, the rate stood at 39 percent and 37 percent, respectively.

South Koreans living in Asia took up nearly half of the total number of overseas voters at 29,422 people, while 20,395 people voted in the Americas, 9,479 in Europe, 2,841 in the Middle East, and 1,642 in Africa.

Korea’s Overseas Voting for Parliamentary Elections to Begin, Yonham News Agency, Mar. 29 2016,
Turnout among Overseas Voters Hovers above 40 Pct, The Korea Times, Apr. 5 2016,
Overseas Voter Registration for 2016 Korean Election Opens This Weekend, The Korea Times, Nov. 12 2015,


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