North Korea has held local elections to decide provincial governors – with the official turnout recorded at a near-perfect 99.97 per cent of the population. Voters do not mark their ballot papers, but put them into a ballot box to show support for pre-approved candidates. There is only one candidate on the paper for each district. A near-100% turnout in North Korean elections is common since voting is mandatory for everyone over the age of 17 and abstaining is considered an act of treason. Observers say the polls are used as an informal census, allowing the authorities to ensure citizens are where they are supposed to be and identify defectors.
According to the official figures from the weekend’s poll, then, 0.07% of the eligible population avoided the vote.
North Korea has a population of 24.9 million people. Figures for what percentage of North Korea’s population are of voting age are not available, but perhaps a rough calculation can still be made:
The CIA World Factbook records that 21.5% of the population is under 15, and a further 16.3% are between 15 and 24 years old. Extrapolating somewhat, about 18.8 million North Koreans may be of voting age.