A woman receives a ballot to vote to elect deputies to the 13th Supreme People's Assembly in Pyongyang, North Korea Sunday, March 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
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Almost all North Koreans cast their ballots Sunday in a predetermined election for a rubber-stamp parliament -- an exercise that doubles as a national head count and may offer clues to power shifts in Pyongyang.All registered voters -- except those who are currently abroad -- took part in the nationwide elections for members of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), the state-run KCNA news agency said. Kim also cast his vote along with high-ranking army and party cadres.Apart from the physical casting of votes, there is nothing democratic about the ballot. The isolated communist state has for decades boasted voter turnouts of nearly 100 percent for its "elections" in which an uncontested candidate wins unanimously at all times. The official turnout at the last election in 2009 was put at 99.98 percent of registered voters, with 100 percent voting for the approved candidate in each seat.For the North Korean authorities, the vote effectively doubles as a census, as election officials visit every home in the country to ensure all registered voters are present and correct.
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