Voting means bonus for some workers
By Lee Hyo-sik
The government has tried various methods over the years such as nationwide campaigns with celebrities to encourage voters to cast ballots on election days to little avail.
Here are a couple of alternative approaches of using monetary incentives or fun factors aimed at substantially increasing the voter turnout, which has shown a clear downward trend over decades.
Tour Baksa has been attracting keen public attention after announcing that it will pay its 200 employees 300,000 won ($265) each in special bonus, totaling 60 million won, if they all vote in today’s parliamentary elections.
It is not the first time for Tour Baksa CEO Shin Chang-yeon to offer workers cash incentives for exercising their constitutional right to vote.
Ahead of the Oct. 27 by-elections in 2010, Shin promised to provide 50,000 won each if all employees cast ballots in case they take photos of themselves in front of polling stations as a proof.
But employees might not believe in the cash-for-vote deal in 2010 as many did not go to the polls. As a result, nobody could garner the perk.
Things were different last year when all workers went to the polls in the Oct. 26 by-elections to gain the extra payments.
``Workers are extremely excited about getting 300,000 won in special bonus for casting ballots on the election day because the amount is six times more than last year’s,’’ Tour Baksa spokesman Shim Won-bo said.
``The CEO thinks casting ballots are constitutional obligation for all members of Korean society. The cash bonus is also designed to boost employee morale.’’
Unlike the past, Shim said the company still plans to pay employees bonuses this time around ranging from 50,000 won to 200,000 won even in case a small fraction of the workforce do not vote. ``If only one missed out on voting, employees will still get 200,000 won. But if non-voters exceed four, no bonus will be provided.’’
Similarly, a number of entertainers and other high-profile figures have been encouraging citizens to vote in today’s elections. Among noted, Ahn Cheol-soo, entrepreneur-turned-professor, has released a video clip on Youtube, urging voters, particularly those in their 20s and 30s, to take part in the parliamentary voting.
On Monday, Ahn, a potential presidential candidate in December, uploaded a two-minute and 38-second clip on the social networking service site, titled ``Ahn’s promise to vote.’’
On the clip, Ahn even said he will wear a mini-skirt, and sing and dance if the voter turnout exceeds 70 percent.