Fri, Apr 12, 2002 - Page 2 News List

KMT says most Taiwanese want absentee voting

CNA , TAIPEI

A KMT lawmaker said yesterday that most of Taiwan's people support the proposal to allow absentee voting in general elections.

Quoting the results of a public opinion poll conducted by a KMT think tank, Legislator Huang Teh-fu (黃德福) said nearly 65 percent of the respondents gave a thumbs-up to the idea of allowing absentee voting.

"Therefore, I suggest that absentee voting be tried on an experimental basis in the year-end Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections," Huang said at the news conference where the KMT poll results were released.

Huang said 21 democratic countries around the world have adopted absentee voting to protect the voting rights of all of their citizens.

The absentee voting methods implemented by these countries can be grouped into four categories in which absentee voters can either vote by mailing in votes, or by naming a surrogate, or by voting in special polling stations or by casting their ballots at their place of work.

Huang said the government can legislate a temporary statute to regulate absentee voting on an experimental basis in the Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections to be held late this year.

Since the existing Election and Recall Law (選舉罷免法) already allows election workers to cast their ballots at places where their work is located, instead of places where their legal abode is situated, Huang said it won't be difficult to experiment with absentee voting in the year-end elections.

As the Constitution has set forth the voting qualifications for overseas Taiwanese citizens, Huang said that absentee voting rights should be confined to military service members, the police, medical professionals, prison workers and inmates.

"Initial tallies show these specific workers number more than 3 million," Huang said.

He added that Taiwan should adopt absentee voting as early as possible in order to protect these people's civil rights.

Huang said he will come up with a draft of the proposed statute on absentee voting for the upcoming Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections by the end of the month.

According to the recent KMT poll of 1,079 randomly selected adults in Taiwan, 64.8 percent support the adoption of absentee voting, while 23 percent oppose the proposal.

Meanwhile, the survey re-sults also showed that 64.9 percent gave a thumbs-down to the proposal to lower the minimum voting age to 18 years of age, 25.6 percent said they support the proposal, and 9.5 percent would not express their opinion on the issue.

"In view of expanding political participation, we'll continue promoting the proposal to win popular support," Huang said.

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