(3nd LD) Record number of S. Koreans participate in early voting

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South Koreans cast their ballots in early voting for the May 9 presidential election at Seoul Station on May 5, 2017. (Yonhap)

(ATTN: UPDATES figures in 2nd, 4th paras)

SEOUL, May 5 (Yonhap) — A record number of South Koreans have taken part in early voting in the presidential election, attesting to high voter attention, the election management office said Friday.

As of 5 p.m., about 10.34 million people, or 24.34 percent of the electorate, had cast their ballots since the two-day advance voting began Thursday, the National Election Commission (NEC) said.

It is already higher than the overall early voting rates of 12.2 percent for the parliamentary elections in 2016 and 11.5 percent for the local elections in 2014.

Turnout in the nation’s first early voting for a presidential election was the highest in South Jeolla Province, a liberal stronghold, with 32.4 percent, and the lowest in the traditionally conservative city of Daegu with 20.87 percent, the NEC said.

Early voting is conducted at 3,507 polling stations across the country from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for those who can’t go to the polls on the May 9 election day.

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