Organisation : National Election Commission
Facility : Recall Votes
Country : Republic of Korea
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Recall Votes :
What is a Recall Vote? :
** A recall vote may be held if the representative democracy system is significantly damaged by a local government head or a local council member directly elected by residents due to his/her illegal or unfair activities, residents will be able to vote against the head/council member before the expiration of his/her term of office.
** In addition, if resident’s vote is held to decide a policy of local government, a recall vote indicates that residents have the right to implement the personnel management of their local government.
** A recall vote may be requested in writing through the submission of signatures of a certain number of residents and reasonable grounds for a request for a recall vote. Residents can make a public official resign through recall votes in which more than one third of the eligible voters cast their votes and more than 50% of the valid votes agree on the resignation. Even though a recall vote may shrink public official’s activities, make them defensive, or be used in favor of interests of their political parties, generally it improves the responsibility of public officials and is used to check public officials, resulting in enhancing and guaranteeing a direct democracy system. Korea formulated the?Recall Vote Law?on May 24, 2006 as the Law No. 7958 to encourage resident’s participation in the local autonomy and enhance democracy and responsibilities of local administration and it came into effect on May 25, 2007.
Overview of Recall Vote :
Request for Recall Vote :
** Residents may request a recall vote to the competent Election Commission with their signatures and a reason for requiring a recall vote raised by a certain number of residents against public officials elected except proportional representation members in local councils.
Period of Restricting a Request for Recall Vote :
** If it has been less than a year since the start date of the term of office of public officials, if the rest of the term is less than a year, or if it has been less than a year since the last recall vote against public officials, residents shall not request a recall vote.
Announcement of Recall Vote :
** If the competent Election Commission deems a request for a recall vote legitimate, the details of a recall vote shall be announced immediately.
** To propose a recall vote, the date of a recall vote and the recall vote agenda shall be announced no later than seven days after the submission of explanation by the person a recall vote has been requested against.
Determination of the Date for Recall Vote :
** The date for a recall vote is set by the competent Election Commission between 20 to 30 days from the date for announcement of a recall vote.
Right to Vote in Recall Vote :
** A person whose age is nineteen or more and who is registered as a resident in the district under the jurisdiction of the local government concerned as of the date of preparation of electoral register has the right to vote in a recall vote.
** In addition, a foreigner whose age is nineteen or more and who has had permanent residence for more than three years, and who is registered in the register of foreigners of the local government concerned has the right to vote.
Recall Vote Campaigns :
** A Recall Vote campaign is allowed from the day after the notification day of a recall vote to one day before the recall vote date. Recall vote campaigns include the installation of offices and other tools for campaigns, newspaper advertising, speech sessions and debates, campaigns through the information communication network and the Internet advertising.
Confirmation of Recall Vote Results :
** A recall is confirmed if more than 1/3 of the eligible voters cast their votes and more than 50% of the valid votes agree.
** Then, the corresponding public official shall lose his/her position from the day the vote result is confirmed.
** Note that if the number of those who have voted is less than 1/3 of the total number of voters eligible to vote in the recall vote, ballots will not be counted.
Counting Method :
** When voting is finished, ballot boxes are sent to the counting centers and counting begins.
** Optical scan counters have been used since the 3rd general local elections in 2002.
Counting Procedures :
Start of Counting :
When the ballot boxes arrive at the counting center, counting begins.
Process of Counting :
Opening ballot boxes => Unfolding ballot papers => Counting using the Optical scan counter => Examination, verification, tabulation (manual counting of unclassified ballot papers, examination of classified ballots) => Announcement of count results by voting district
End of Counting :
Announcement of count results by constituency, preparation of counting reports
Campaign Expense :
Campaign Expense Limit :
** The election commissions announce the campaign expense limit, as setting the upper limit as the total amount based on a population and other data at every election.
Income and Expenditure of Campaign Expense :
** Political parties and candidates should report an accountant in charge of income and expenditure of campaign expense and bank account to election commissions, when applying for the candidate registration (or report of establishment of political party’s election office)
** An accountant in charge should manage income and expenditure through reported bank account; write all the details on the book; and manage and keep documentary evidence including receipts.
Report, Public Inspection, and Open of Income and Expenditure :
** An accountant in charge should make a report on income and expenditure of campaign expense to election commissions by 30 days after the election day.
** Reports are open to the public for public inspection and a request for issuance of copies is allowed for 3 months in order to boost transparency of campaign expense. When an objection is raised, materials for explanation should be submitted.
Investigation on Income and Expenditure of Campaign Expense & Actions :
Election commissions investigate a person concerned or request for submission of materials: if necessary, financial transaction records can be requested to submit.
** When written false information, illegal or excessive expenditure, and other unlawful acts are found after examination and investigation, necessary actions including accusation and request for investigation are being taken.
Reimbursement of Campaign Expense :
Reason of Reimbursement :
** In order to leveling the playing field for candidates to campaign; to reduce campaign expenses; and to hold a fair election, the public management system of election has been adopted, as the government and local governments cover campaign expenses.
Requirement of Reimbursement :
** It is the same as the requirement of return of candidates’ deposit.
Restriction on Reimbursement :
** All the expenses that candidates use for their election campaigns are the subject of reimbursement. However, some expenses including preliminary candidates’ election expenses and unreported expenses are excluded.
** In addition, when candidates fail to submit a report on income and expenditure of campaign expenses, all the campaign expenses shall not be reimbursed.
** When candidates are convicted of election law violations or spend more money than the campaign expense limit, the amount equivalent to two times the illegal expenses or excessive expenditure shall not be reimbursed.