Why Kim Jong-un Could've Won North Korea Elections With 100 Percent Of The Vote (Hint: 'Election' Is A Strong Word)
Wow, North Korea must unanimously love Kim Jong-un! Wait... is there anything that 100 percent of people love? Apparently, yes: Kim Jong-un unanimously won North Korea elections, obtaining literally 100 percent of the vote, according to state press. That isn't too surprising, considering Kim Jong Un was the only name on the ballot for North Korea's supreme leader. But what does seem a more outlandish claim is that there was 100 percent voter turnout in Kim Jong-un's district,and every one voted for Kim. Every one.
At this point, we're inclined to disbelieve most of what comes out of North Korea. But, rather chillingly, this one might be true — except, of course, there's some coercion involved.
Voting is legally mandatory in North Korea, and the country's citizens have to register one month in advance. If they don't, there's the threat of punishment, like being imprisoned in gulags (North Korea's prison camps.) And voting "no" may not be an option. As The Economist explained:
[Voters] are presented with a single candidate in the district where they live. These candidates are chosen by the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, the governing coalition, which is controlled by the Workers' Party. There is only one box to tick. Abstaining or voting no would be a dangerous act of treason, given that voting takes place in booths that do not provide any secrecy, and dissenting votes must be posted into a separate ballot box.
If we can even call these elections, they're certainly not free ones. Which isn't a huge surprise: Have you seen North Korea from space?
That dark bit isn't ocean. It's North Korea, where there is literally and figuratively only darkness.
So, what are the point of elections in North Korea, anyway? Is North Korea trying to make the rest of the world think it's fair? The reason may be much more surprising: The Wall Street Journal reported that elections are used as an "unofficial census", which let the government to check up on where North Korea citizens are. Apparently, defectors have reported that some North Koreans return to the country specifically for the election, so the state doesn't learn for their absence.
Well, that's one way to take a census.
Lest we forget, North Korea was recently compared to Nazi Germany in a terrifying, 400-page UN report. It included horrific sketches drawn from the memories of former detainees, which you can see here (warning: disturbing content.)