Voters cast their ballots at a polling station in Incheon on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Accusations of electoral fraud continued to surface Wednesday, as several problems with ballot handling during the 20th presidential election were reported.
Local media outlet Segye Ilbo reported 10:13 p.m. Wednesday that a polling station in Incheon found a batch of ballots in a different color, forcing election officials there to halt the vote count at 10 p.m. Ballot papers used in Wednesday’s election are white, but ballots printed on yellowish paper were found in one of the ballot boxes.
An election official for the region told Segye Ilbo that authorities were assessing the situation and could not provide any further details on the incident.
A polling station in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, was found to have issued two ballots to a voter at around 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to multiple media reports. The voter reportedly did not initially realize that they had received two ballots, but later found the second paper when marking their vote in the polling booth.
The voter reportedly stamped both ballot papers, but when election officials there realized the voter had two, they confiscated one and allowed the other to be posted into the ballot box.
Some local media outlets reported that a polling station in Bupyeong-gu, Incheon, found an extra ballot box with the same identification number as a ballot box that had already been transported for counting. Election officials there and voters were in a standoff on what to do with the box, according to media reports made around 10:30 p.m.
The problems witnessed during the election process Wednesday again put the National Election Commission in the firing line over its management of the 20th presidential election.
The election watchdog faced strong criticism during the early voting period held from Friday to Saturday for its lackluster management of early voting booths and ballot boxes for voters with COVID-19 and those under quarantine orders.
A significant number of Friday and Saturday voters raised concerns of possible electoral fraud after seeing their ballots collected in non-official ballot boxes or shopping bags instead of regular ballot boxes. No separate ballot boxes were prepared to collect the votes of COVID-19 patients during the weekend sessions.
By Ko Jun-tae (firstname.lastname@example.org