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KEI Podcasts

Winning an Election during a Pandemic: Scott Snyder, Kang Insun, and Song Hochang

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Show Notes

On April 7, the American state of Wisconsin held an election to decide who would be the Democratic Party’s nominee for the US presidential election in November 2020. The days leading up to the election were chaotic with the state’s Democratic governor calling for a postponement of the state-wide election out of public health concerns and the state’s Republican-controlled legislature challenging this order. Ultimately, the election went ahead – and health officials note that, to date, at least 19 people infected with COVID-19 in the state of Wisconsin can trace their exposure to the election.

The following week, on April 15, a very differently-run election took place in South Korea. All 300 seats in South Korea’s unicameral legislature were up for grabs and South Koreans went to the polls in greater numbers than they had since 1992 to elect a new National Assembly.

Meticulous plans had been made, including measures to ensure that voters would be able to maintain social distancing at polling stations; that voting booths would be regularly wiped down, and that self-quarantined citizens would be able to vote after polling stations were closed to regular voters.

Perhaps equally impressive was the outcome – a landslide victory for President Moon Jae-in’s Democratic Party – which now controls 180 seats in parliament, a full three-fifth of the chamber.

In this episode, Former National Assemblyman Song Hochang, Chosun Ilbo Deputy Editor Kang Insun, and Scott Snyder discuss both how South Koreans held the election and what the political impact of the results would be for the incumbent Moon Jae-in administration.

This episode is an excerpt from a public webinar on April 16. You can watch the full event on KEI’s YouTube channel here:

You can also RSVP to KEI’s webinar on April 30 on the impact of COVID-19 in North Korea here: