A day after a record snowfall in Japan’s capital, Tokyoites took to the heavily frosted streets to cast their ballots for a new governor. Inevitably, the heaviest snow in two decades — according to the weather agency — was affecting voter turnout. As of 11 a.m. (0200 GMT) Sunday, turnout at 1,869 polling stations was an estimated 4.10%, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Electoral Management Committee. That was around 7 percentage points lower than at the same time during the previous gubernatorial election, in December 2012. “Turnout is quite low; it’s because of the snow,” said an official with the committee.
The official said many election workers spent the night in local ward offices to avoid transportation disruptions from keeping them from getting to their polling stations, and to clear away piles of snow. A 75-year-old woman using a walking stick to get to a polling station said the slippery roads forced her to walk more slowly.
Noriko Sangu, 34, went to her polling station in Bunkyo Ward soon after booths opened at 7 a.m. (2200 GMT), but didn’t see many others at the station at that time. A Bunkyo ward official said only 7,500 voters had cast their ballots at the ward’s 26 polling stations as of 11 a.m., compared with 18,100 by the same time in the previous election.
Full Article: Snow Hits Tokyo Election Turnout – Japan Real Time – WSJ.