National Assembly Elections Held Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

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South Korea held the biggest election since the coronavirus pandemic started, with voting under strict rules to try to ensure people's safety.

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All voters had to wear masks and stand at least 1 meter away at polling stations. Before they could vote, people had their temperature measured and were instructed to disinfect their hands and wear plastic gloves.

President Moon Jae-Korea's Democratic Party of Korea, along with its satellite party, is expected to win a majority of seats in the National Assembly, according to an exit poll from national public broadcaster KBS. Electoral participation was the greatest in 28 years.

There was also a record turnout, with 11 million people voting in advance, some by mail, but also at polling stations installed last week. Last week, US President Donald Trump called postal votes "horrible" and "corrupt", despite himself voting for the Florida primary via mail.

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Special measures were introduced in South Korea to allow patients with coronavirus or those in quarantine to vote. People diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, had the option of mailing at the polls, while anyone in quarantine was given a strict deadline to vote at designated polling stations where they had to walk or drive for.

The elections in South Korea are in sharp contrast to the canceled primaries in the U.S., or the disturbing images in Wisconsin where voters waited for hours to vote.

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South Korea was praised for its response to the coronavirus outbreak, with an aggressive regime of testing and tracking anyone who had come in contact with patients, helping to reduce new daily cases from a peak of 900 in February to 27 on election day itself.

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