NEC Announces Manual Ballot Counting for April Elections in South Korea

Daegu, South Korea - The National Election Commission (NEC) of South Korea is set to introduce a manual ballot counting system for the upcoming general elections in April. This decision, announced on Wednesday, aims to enhance transparency and address concerns over potential election rigging.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the new system will involve an initial sorting of ballots by machines, followed by a manual verification by election staff before the final count. This change comes in the wake of repeated suspicions about election fraud, which the commission believes have undermined national unity and led to boycotts of election results. The NEC stated, "It is meant to boost transparency and credibility over the course of the elections to prevent vote-rigging suspicions."

The introduction of this system is expected to prolong the process of confirming election results. Consequently, the commission plans to significantly increase its personnel to manage the additional workload. A mock ballot count was conducted in Daegu on September 20, 2023, as part of the preparations.

Additionally, the NEC has decided to broadcast live surveillance footage from locations where mail-in and early-vote ballots are stored, to prevent any misconduct. To further enhance security, a specialized control program will be applied to ballot sorting machines, allowing them to recognize only authorized USB devices, thereby mitigating the risk of hacking.

This move comes amid concerns raised by the state intelligence agency about the vulnerability of the current operating program on the ballot machines, which could potentially be hacked with insider assistance.

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