The 21st parliamentary election was held on April 15, 2020. The general election, which had a 66.2% turnout, is the highest ever since the 14th general elections in 1992, with a record of 71.9%. The turnout, which hit a 28-year high, is encouraging. On the other hand, it also means that 33.8%of voters did not vote. It was also stated that if the government's budget estimates to be deliberated over the next four years are divided by the number of voters, it will cost 47 million won. In other words, the value of one vote is equivalent to 47 million won, which means that 33.8% of voters lost 47 million won each in April 15. The value of a vote cannot be determined by money.
Assuming that the present day is 24 hours from the beginning of mankind, it is only five minutes that everyone was able to hold a fair election. We are lucky to be born and live in those five minutes. Korea gives voting rights to all citizens of legal age, regardless of race, gender, status, or religion. Granting voting rights to all members of the adult community is called the "ordinary election," and there were many sacrifices before the "ordinary election" took place.
First of all, there is Emily Wilding Davidson, a representative of the women's suffrage movement. She was at the forefront of the British women's suffrage movement that began in the late 19th century. She was imprisoned nine times and even went on a hunger strike while she was in prison. In 1913, she jumped onto the track of a racehorse competition and died after colliding with the horse of King George V. Her last words as she jumped onto the track were: "Voting rights for women!" After the incident, enraged women turned her funeral into a huge parade of protests and eventually enacted the "National Representative Act" in 1918, which granted women over the age of 30 the right to vote and to run for office.
In the case of black people, they also gained the right to vote after many sacrifices. Amelia Boynton Robinson, a black suffrage activist in the U.S., launched a black voter campaign for the black people who acquired citizenship after the end of the Civil War in 1867. Despite the interference of the police, she went on an 86-kilometer march of peace from Selma to Montgomery, where the state council was held, on March 7, 1965 with Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and others. It was a peace march, but the police used clubs and tear gas to suppress her, and she was knocked down unconscious by a club. The photo was published in the newspapers and the angry public demanded that the president propose a "voting rights law."
Even in the case of the Republic of Korea, it was never easy to win the right to vote. It was the first time in three years since Korea's liberation from the Japanese colonial rule, which was won after the independence movement. In more than 25 years, however, Koreans lost the right to vote for the president directly. After the “Yusin System” proclamation, the then president Park Jung-hee held indirect elections by presidential electors. Fifteen years later, in the summer of 1987, the struggle for the right to vote began. Women also regained direct voting rights through sacrifices. The trigger for the April 19 revolution was the March 15 election, whereas the June democratic uprising was the result of the April 13 constitutional measure that rejected the direct presidential election. This is where we can see the importance of voting in a democratic country.
Voting rights were earned at the expense and return of many people. However, many people do not participate in the voting because they do not have anyone to vote for, or they think that politics does not have much impact on their life. Politicians reflect the needs of those who can vote for themselves in their pledges. Participating in the voting is a kind of deal that will help a person vote for a candidate and what benefit it will bring them if the candidate wins. Even if the chosen candidate does not win the election, they have to exercise their right to vote to make sure that there are more pledges in the next election. The German dictator Adolf Hitler once said, "How lucky is the government that manages them that people don't like to think?" It is a sentence that shows how tragic consequences people can face if they do not think or act. For our "right to vote" and this "one vote," which we take for granted, mankind had to make great sacrifices. You should not give up your precious right to vote.
Let me introduce the sentencesthat generate the will to vote.
“The sovereignty of the Republic of Korea is in the people, and all power comes from the people.” - Article 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” - Edmund Burke (British politician)
“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.” - Abraham Lincoln (16th president of the United States)
“The person who participates is the owner, the person who does not is the guest.” - Dosan Ahn Chang-ho
Lee Ga-eun (ST Reporter)