The heat centering on the 4.13 general election is running high as the official election campaign began on March 31. As the voter turnout of 20s has been low, many university students are now trying to promote the importance of voting. Some are trying to encourage voting since it can address specific concerns shared by the nation’s young adults. Some other organizations consisting of university students are expanding their activities further to demand politicians to keep their campaign pledges, especially those directing influencing university students. Ewha Voice looked into the stories of these students and organizations in order to understand their concerns regarding various problems the nation’s young people face nowadays and their support for policies targeting this age group.
Different opinions surrounding voting for general elections
“There is no point in voting for the general election as Korea is not going to change whether I vote or not.”
This type of attitude does not belong to few students in Korea, but is quite commonly shared among university students in today’s society. For the last two general elections in 2008 and 2012, voter turnouts of people in their 20s were 28.1 percent and 41.5 percent respectively. Although voter turnout is increasing, still there is a long way to go. This turnout, compared to other age groups, is very low. For example, while the voter turnout of people in their twenties is 41.5 percent, it was 62.4 percent for people in their sixties in the 2012 general election. The main reason for these figures is thought to be the low expectations toward the impact of individual votes along with political indifference. Many students believe that even if they vote, it is unlikely that the election pledges would come into effect.
“I am not going to vote this year, and I doubt that I will ever do so,” said a university student who wished to stay annonymous. “I highly doubt that my vote is going to change Korea, and I don’t think all the election pledges are going to be accomplished.”
Also, some students are simply not interested in politics.
“I am not going to vote this year,” said Lee Gi-na, a freshman who majors in International Studies. “I don’t know any of the candidates or their pledges. I don’t think getting to know them is not worth enough to make efforts.”
However, the number of students who are willing to vote and have a decent understanding of the election is slowly increasing.
“I have participated in voting for the national election and will continue to vote whenever there are elections,” said Oh Jae-ho, a student from Yonsei University. “I believe voting can influence the problems that my family, friends, and I face in our daily lives. Politics is the best way to improve countries and societies, and voting allows good politicians to take action within the country’s decision making.”