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Wed, Nov 14, 2001 - Page 3 News List

DPP coordinates its voters' choices

COMPLICATED ELECTIONS The party yesterday kicked off a plan to get its voters to cast ballots for candidates who need votes, rather than those they want to vote for

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP legislative candidates yesterday held a press conference where they asked voters to vote for them according to the last digits of voters' ID cards.

PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Taipei City's two constituencies yesterday became the first areas targeted by the DPP in its drive to achieve an even distribution of votes among its candidates in the Dec. 1 elections. The move comes after the party's secretary-general announced last week that it intended to adopt the strategy across the nation.

The DPP's hope is to maximize the chance of all the party's candidates getting elected. It targets all known party supporters in an area and has proven effective for both the DPP and the New Party in past legislative elections. The DPP's northern district general director Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) said the strategy is "designed specifically for Taiwan's `multi-member district, single vote' electoral system (複數選區, 一票制)."

The party estimates that a low voter turnout, combined with an unusually large number of candidates, will make for thin margins in the number of votes received per candidate. It believes that seeking a relatively even distribution of votes will help each of its candidates to receive a specific minimum number of votes.

Vote allocation -- the system used by the DPP -- involves requesting known individual supporters to vote for specific individual candidates.

According to a DPP survey, between 30 and 40 percent of the party's supporters are prepared to vote for the candidate for whom the party instructs them to vote. The party calculates that, given this survey result, each nominated candidate in Taipei's northern district is guaranteed 15,000 votes. It also estimates that a candidate would need to secure 34,000 votes to win election to the legislature.

The party said it will ask supporters to vote for different candidates depending on the supporter's national identity card number.

For instance, voters in Taipei City's northern district whose ID card numbers end in "one" or "two" are asked to vote for Lan Shih-tsung (藍世聰), while those whose numbers end in "three" or "four" are asked to vote for Lo Wen-chia (羅文嘉).

"Allocating votes will help to push individual candidates past the margin necessary for election," Lin said.

Julian Kuo (郭正亮), a political science professor at Soochow University and a DPP candidate in Taipei's southern district, said that two factors would determine the success or failure of the strategy.

"Whether the strategy proves effective will depend on whether voters have more faith in party politics than they do in individual candidates, and the degree of cooperation among the party's candidates in each individual constituency," Kuo said.

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