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Upper house race voter turnout slightly increases to 54.7% from previous election

Voter turnout in the July 10 House of Councillors election stood at 54.70 percent, according to a Mainichi Shimbun estimate as of the midnight of July 10 -- a 2.09 percentage point increase from the previous upper house race in 2013.

The July 10 rate is expected to be the fourth-lowest turnout for an upper house race. The last time the upper house voter turnout increased was in 2007. The lowest voter turnout in an upper house race was in 1995, at 44.52 percent. The latest election attracted attention as forces in favor of constitutional amendment aimed to secure a two-thirds majority in the upper chamber necessary to initiate constitutional revisions. However, the issue helped little in improving the voting rate.

According to figures from the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry that were released on July 10, the preliminary number of voters who cast ballots in early voting reached 15,986,898 -- a 23.46 percent increase from the previous upper house race and a record for early voting in an upper chamber election. This means that approximately 15 percent of all eligible voters cast early votes in the latest poll. Early voters made up about 28 percent of people who actually voted in the July 10 election, breaking the record proportion of early voters in the 2014 House of Representatives election, at 24.03 percent. The high rate was attributed to the 18-day campaign period -- one day longer than usual.

The internal affairs ministry is set to release the voter turnout among newly enfranchised 18- and 19-year-olds, who became eligible to cast ballots in the July 10 upper house race, after conducting a sampling survey at selected polling stations.

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