Are Voters’ Choices Rational in Reby-Elections? Examinations of Local Reby-Elections from 2010 to 2021

Korean Politics
Electoral Politics
Voting Behaviors
Comparative Politics

Park, Sanghoon and Dabin Jeong. 2023. “Are Voters’ Choices Rational in Reby-Elections? Examinations of Local Reby-Elections from 2010 to 2021.”


Political Science, Univeristy of South Carolina University

Dabin Jeong

Visiting Scholar, Research Institute for National Unification, Chungnam National Univeristy


September 2023


This empirical study examines the potential impact of the rationales behind the organization of reby-elections for local council members and local government leaders in South Korea on the voting behaviors. The influence of regular elections, such as presidential or general elections, as well as regionalism, has traditionally been regarded as factors that affect voter participation and voting behavior in reby-elections. Nevertheless, we anticipate that voters will readily obtain political information regarding the causes of vacancies and use this knowledge into their voting choices Hence, we propose an extension of the existing reby-elections, which have traditionally been limited to general elections or gubernatorial elections, to encompass local elections in general. In instances where reby-elections are conducted as a result of the removal of incumbents with illegal reasons, it is contended that voters will demonstrate rational punishment voting behavior by holding the incumbent’s party responsible. The findings indicate that voters show rational voting behavior in the elections for local council members and municipal government leaders. However, in the elections for metropolitan council, reasons for vacancies, as well as other variables at the district and candidate levels, do not have statistical significance in determining the electoral outcomes.