Tue, Dec 04, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Recount of Taipei mayoral votes begins

NO WORRIES:Ko Wen-je said he does not expect an upset of the Nov. 24 results, as Ting Shou-chung’s camp was present during the vote counting on election day

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei District Court officials, watched by lawyers, yesterday examine ballots as the recount of the Taipei mayoral election begins at the Xinyi District Office Auditorium.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

A vote-by-vote recount of the ballots cast in the Taipei mayoral election on Nov. 24 demanded by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) began yesterday.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who won re-election, said he was not worried about the results, given that Ting’s camp had representatives monitoring the vote count on election day.

Ko garnered 580,820 votes in the five-way race, or 41.05 percent of those cast, against Ting’s 577,566 votes (40.82 percent), a margin of just 3,254 votes.

As the nine-in-one elections were held alongside 10 referendums, voting took longer than expected, not finishing until 7:46pm in Taipei, more than three hours past the scheduled deadline.

Ballot counting took more than 10 hours and finished at about 2:30am the following day.

Many voters had complained about irregularities, such as voting and ballot counting reportedly taking place simultaneously at a polling station in Shilin District (士林), meaning that some people were able to check election results online while waiting to vote, Ting said.

Ting and his lawyers on Wednesday applied for a recount with the Taipei District Court and paid a deposit of NT$3 per vote, or about NT$4.28 million (US$139,178).

The ballot boxes were sealed at the Taipei City Election Commission on Thursday, witnessed by the lawyers appointed by Ting and Ko, and moved yesterday morning to the Xinyi District Office Auditorium for the recount.

The court said that the recount would be done by 50 groups made up of two election clerks, a judge and a court clerk each, with lawyers appointed by Ting and Ko allowed to witness the process.

During the recount, each ballot is to be displayed by a polling clerk for the judge and lawyers to look at, Chief Judge Huang Ping-chin (黃柄縉) of the Taipei District Court’s administrative division said.

According to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), the recount must be finished within 20 days of the ballot boxes being sealed, or Dec. 19.

Ting said he was thankful that many lawyers had come forward to help protect Taiwan’s democracy and give the public a chance to know the truth.

Yeh Ching-yuan (葉慶元), one of Ting’s lawyers, said it had been a challenge to find enough lawyers to help after the court on Friday notified them of the recount.

Due to the small number of votes separating Ting and Ko, Ting’s team was “cautiously optimistic,” he said, adding that if three tickets per polling station were different, the results might change.

Additional reporting by CNA

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