Getting out the votes for Mayoral and Gubernatorial Elections

The talk of South Korea in the world is on the national level and the tensions with North Korea. But here on the streets of Busan, what I see is about the June 2 mayoral and gubernatorial elections. June 2 is a vacation day for many people to encourage voting.

How do people here work to motivate voters? I’ve seen:

  • A dozen women in matching t-shirts with the candidates number and white gloves, waving in unison to passers by, singing or saying the candidates name
  • Trucks driving down the street, with a microphone. In the cab of the truck sits the driver, in the middle is the candidate or his rep talking on the microphone, and on the right is someone working the audio controls and waving.
  • College age students with matching t-shirts and sashes worn diagonally over the shoulder, handing out flyers, in the crowded pedestrian areas
  • A candidate making a speech on a stage parked in a busy pedestrian area. A crowd of about 100 people listened and cheered. His speech was complemented by a shimmering screen (maybe 10′ x 15′). The images on the screen showed cartoon versions of the voting ballot, marking his name, and a cartoon version of himself with a superman outfit.
  • At the rear of this gathering, several people who were silent carried candles whose flame was shielded by an inverted paper cup mounted near the top of the candle. One carried a sign, “No vote. No kiss.”

Anyone who knows me would not say I was politically keen in my own country. But here, wow, there’s a lot I don’t understand!

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