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COVID-19 and Voter Turnout in Europe and in Korea

  • Author Dong-Hee JOE
  • Series22-06
  • Date2022-02-23
   Even while we are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, cyclical events arrive mercilessly as scheduled. While some of them are held virtually (i.e., online), some cannot be completely virtualized, at least as of now, including national elections. A major risk in holding an election during a pandemic is the increase of contagion due to the gathering of people in polling stations and campaign events. The opposite direction of causality, that is, from contagion to voter turnout, is another serious, but much less recognized, risk, because voters may refrain from voting due to health concerns. This Brief reviews some of the empirical studies on the relation between the prevalence of COVID-19 and voter turnout in recent elections in Europe and Korea. It also discusses their implications for election administration during pandemic.
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