Some 217,000 people have registered for overseas voting as of Sunday afternoon, the final day of registration for the 18th presidential election in December, the National Election Commission said.
That is only 9.7 percent of the estimated eligible overseas voters of 2.23 million, casting doubt on the cost and efficiency of the program.
The commission said the final figures will become available on Monday afternoon as embassies and consulates around the world are still in the process of reviewing email registration, which started on Oct. 2.
It predicted that the total will still come to no more than 220,000.
Overseas voting was first introduced for the general election in April. Some 123,571 people registered but only 56,456 or 45.7 percent of them actually voted, resulting in turnout of just 2.5 percent. The cost per one overseas voter was around W500,000 (US$1=W1,103), 50 times more than the W10,000 for a voter in Korea.
The Korean Embassy in Japan had the most registrations for the presidential election with 12,503, followed by the consulates in New York and Los Angeles, which got 9,980 and 9,865. The embassy in Croatia saw the fewest with 30.
There are 48,461 eligible voters in the U.S., 36,089 in Japan, and 35,193 in China.