Sun, May 16, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Recount workers from both sides find common cause

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The recount of presidential election votes has brought together some unlikely allies, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawyer said yesterday.

"Judges, court clerks and lawyers of both the DPP and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance have worked together for five days. Some of us have become good friends already, since we have been working hard toward the same goal. It is something that none of us expected," said Lo Bing-cheng (羅秉成).

According to Lo, the atmosphere was tense as the recount began on May 10, and this tension continued for two or three days as more than 2,000 judges and court clerks from 21 district courts as well as more than 1,500 lawyers for the political parties began to work together. A few days later, the same complaints began to surface on both sides, such as "Why did the alliance file such a lawsuit? Now we have to recount these ballots?" and "Why did the DPP agree to recount all the ballots?"

"Some of us regretted that we agreed to a recount, while some of them [the pan-blue alliance's lawyers] started to feel that the recount did take too much effort and time," Lo said. "Then we comforted and encouraged each other to go on, and that made us feel that we are actually fighting for the same thing."

Lo also said that approximately 60,000 of the 330,000 invalid ballots were invalidated because these voters stamped their preferences with their own stamps. He said recount workers also discovered that most of the 330,000 invalid ballots were votes for the DPP, but these ballots cannot be counted because voters did not follow the rules.

"For instance, we also dis-covered that many DPP supporters would stamp on Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Annette Lu's (呂秀蓮) stamping area and make another stamp on their pictures, which make it an invalid ballot," Lo said.

Recount workers in Hsinchu discovered an interesting invalid ballot on Friday, Lo said. This voter used a stamp that read, "All of you are bastards" and stamped it on the pictures of all four candidates.

"Everybody was laughing when we saw this," he said.

Lo said many ballots were invalidated by extra stamps on candidates' photos, which were allowed according to the old Presidential Election and Recall Law before it was amended last September.

"Many voters believed that the more stamps there are, the firmer determination they show for the political party or candidate they favor. But these ballots will go to waste anyway," Lo said.

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