Thu, Jun 06, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Commission to add 1,500 polling stations for Jan. 11

NO WAITING?The Central Election Commission said its priority is to evaluate the electoral process, propose improvements and prepare for next year’s elections

By Huang Hsin-po and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators at the Central Election Commission (CEC) in Taipei yesterday hold placards denouncing proposed amendments to the Referendum Act as they signal their displeasure with new CEC Chairman Lee Chin-yung.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

The Central Election Commission (CEC) is expected to set up 1,500 additional polling stations ahead of next year’s presidential and legislative elections after reports of long lines at last year’s local elections, commission vice chairman Chen Chao-chien (陳朝建) said yesterday.

The commission came under fire after many voters reported waiting in line for more than an hour to vote on Nov. 24 last year.

At some polling stations, voting continued after the 4pm deadline, even as CEC staff at other stations had begun counting votes. Vote counting was also delayed late into the night.

Former CEC chairman Chen In-chin (陳英鈐), who on Nov. 25 last year resigned amid criticism, was on Monday replaced by Lee Chin-yung (李進勇).

The commission would also require each station to be larger than 50m2, Chen Chao-chien said.

The commission is developing new curtains for the booths, he said, adding that whenever voting for elections and referendums are held together, the booths for elections would use the original curtains and those for referendums would use the new curtains.

The commission’s priority is to evaluate the electoral process, propose improvements and prepare for next year’s elections, which are to take place on Jan. 11, he said.

People were standing in line to vote after 4pm at about 5,100 of the 15,886 polling stations open for last year’s elections, commission statistics showed.

In related news, several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers visited the commission’s offices in Taipei yesterday to see Lee — who had already left — and protest proposed amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法).

Lee’s appointment, which was approved by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) majority in the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday last week, was flawed, KMT Legislator William Tseng (曾銘宗), who was elected the next KMT caucus whip, said during the lawmakers’ visit.

The KMT caucus suspects that Lee is prepared to “cheat” on Jan. 11 next year, as he said he would cooperate with proposed amendments to the Referendum Act raised by DPP Legislator Chiang Chieh-an (蔣絜安) just one day after he assumed office, Tseng said.

Allowing referendums to be held separately from elections are a clear breach of the Constitution, KMT Legislator Lu Yu-ling (呂玉玲) said.

An amendment that clearly stipulates that referendums be held alongside elections only when they do not exceed a certain number has not yet been proposed, she said.

This is the DPP’s way of cheating, showing the party’s concern about its performance in next year’s elections, she added.

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