Tue, Apr 09, 2002 - Page 4 News List

KMT says it will keep pushing for absentee ballots

VOTING Despite protests by the Central Election Commission that an absentee ballot system should not be hastily implemented, the KMT wants a system to be in place by the year-end mayoral elections

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

Despite statements by the Central Election Commission (CEC) that the country isn't ready for an absentee ballot system, a KMT legislator vowed to press on in his pursuit of establishing such a law.

KMT legislator Huang The-fu (黃德福) said he plans to submit an amendment to the Election and Recall Law (選罷法) in the Legislative Yuan by the end of the month.

The CEC said in a statement yesterday that while it is not opposed to the introduction of absentee voting, rampant vote-buying much first be eradicated before such a law could be made possible.

Huang dismissed the statement as an excuse to avoid establishing absentee voting.

KMT Spokesman Wu Ching-ji (吳清基), announced at the end of last month that the party plans to push the adoption of an absentee ballot system and implement it in time for the year-end Taipei and Kaohsiung City mayoral elections.

Following the party's decision, Huang announced his bill to the media yesterday.

Huang called on the government to establish an absentee ballot system to protect the rights of what he said are some 3 million voters who are unable to vote in elections.

Huang said the figure reflects voters who study or work outside the districts in which they are registered. He also said that several active duty military personnel are similarly unable to vote.

Officials from the CEC, however, said that they don't have any figures on exactly how many voters are unable to return to their districts to vote.

Under article 21 of the Election and Recall Law, Taiwanese citizens have to return to the constituency in which their permanent address is registered to vote.

Responding to Huang's remark, Huang Shih-cheng (黃石城), chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC), said that he personally supports the system's establishment but that implementing it now would be inappropriate.

"We should not implement the system until the problem of vote-buying is solved," Huang said.

Huang The-fu, however, said that the CEC should concentrate on improving the nation's secret ballot system rather than refusing to establish absentee voting just because of vote-buying.

"According to the CEC's logic, not holding any election would avoid all kinds of problems," Huang told the Taipei Times.

Commenting on Huang's proposal, DPP caucus leader Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), said that the DPP will not support it.

"Voting is a very serious issue. We do not believe that such a system should be established and implemented in this short term, especially when there has been no complete discussion among parties [on the matter]," Ker told the Taipei Times yesterday.

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