Election watchdog demonstrates election process to address ballot rigging claim

29-May-2020 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The election watchdog gave a demonstration of the ballot casting and counting processes of the April 15 general election to address the ballot rigging allegations made by an opposition lawmaker and some conservative activists.

Showing how the sorting and counting machines are operated, the National Election Commission (NEC) said Thursday that ballot rigging was not possible due to the security system in its online network along with other advanced equipment.

“Nearly 300,000 people participate in ballot management and counting, including not only NEC staffers but also public officials of central and local governments, financial organisations and ordinary citizens,” an NEC official said during the demonstration at its headquarters in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province. “In such circumstances, vote rigging is only possible when all those people take part.”

The official said people should be careful raising ballot manipulation allegations without a proper understanding of the election process or by focusing on several minor mistakes that might have taken place during the counting.

The NEC reenacted the election process through a reenactment in which 1,000 voters out of 4,000 eligible voters cast two ballots, one for the first-past-the-post vote in four constituencies and the other for a proportional representation vote in which 35 parties participated.

It also disassembled machines to show there were no other communication devices secretly installed by suspected hackers from China ? a claim by conservative activists and Rep. Min Kyung-wook of the main opposition United Future Party (UFP), who has been making allegations of ballot rigging since losing in the election for a constituency in Incheon.

Earlier this month, Min presented six unmarked ballots for the proportional representation vote in the general election as “evidence” of ballot fabrication. He has come up with more suspicions since, claiming the counting machines could be tampered with and Chinese hackers were involved.

Hours before the NEC made the demonstration, Min also held a press conference and said the NEC’s demonstration could not prove its “innocence” of the ballot rigging allegations as it was not conducted by a third party but the election watchdog itself.

“The NEC’s self-demonstration is just like a drunken driver, after causing an accident, demonstrating the driving situation a month later after sobering up,” Min said. “The NEC is the accused. The people won’t accept its attempt to manipulate public opinion by demonstrating with machines that might have been tampered with (to prove its innocence).”

Min also said he had the six ballots from an election observer, who also attended the press conference with him. The man, who claimed that he observed the general election in a constituency of Gyeonggi Province’s Guri City, said another official at the site gave him the ballots after finding suspicious ballots in two different colors. He said he reported the situation to the police there, but was kicked out from the ballot counting station by a person who seemed to be an NEC official.



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