2020 is an election year, not just for the United States but for numerous countries on every inhabited continent. South Korea is one of them. And it's giving us a sense of how other elections may look in these strange and virulent times.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is what an election during a pandemic looks like. This is South Korea, the parliamentary elections. And as you are coming into the polling station you have your temperature taken. You are told you cannot stand less than one meter apart to try and keep some distance. As you come up here, you are given hand sanitizer. Everybody has to sanitize their hands and then just before you enter into the polling station itself, you're given disposable gloves to put on. And only then you are allowed inside to vote. Now when it comes to masks, this is South Korea. Everybody is automatically wearing a mask and has been for weeks anyway.
Now this is what we are looking at, at this point. This is being replicated around the country. There's more than 14,000 polling stations. They will be disinfected throughout the day, we are told. And this is really being seen as a referendum of President Moon Jae-in and his ruling party's dealing with the coronavirus crisis.
Now his approval rating has increased in recent weeks as has his party's. And there's certainly been some overseas praise for the way that they have dealt with this crisis. But it's interesting because it's — it's almost the voting itself. The fact the election is taking place that is more important from an international point of view than who wins. The fact that they are able to do this. And there will be countries around the world looking at this to see if they are able to replicate the same.
Now there was some concern that turnout might be low. Maybe people would be too worried about coming to a polling station where other people were. That is clearly not been the case. Friday and Saturday of last week was when early voting took place. And it was a record turnout. Over 26 percent of the electorate voted early. And the final turnout vote we have seen is the highest in well over 20 years. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.