Wed, Oct 17, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Consensus found on recount law

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers across party lines yesterday agreed to an amendment to the Election and Recall Law of Civil Servants (公務人員選舉罷免法) that would give judicial officers the power to authorize an immediate recount when the difference between the winner and the loser of an election is less than 0.03 percent of the total votes.

The law currently stipulates that a ballot recount can be carried out when the difference between the winning and losing candidates is less than one percent. Any such recount must first be proposed by the Central Election Commission (CEC), authorized by the Cabinet and carried out by the court.

Under the new amendment, which was discussed at the legislature yesterday, the court may immediately carry out a recount.

"This idea was proposed by the Chinese Nationalist Party legislative caucus. Most of my fellow lawmakers agreed that it may not be fair and logical if a recount is proposed by an administrative office like the CEC. Instead, it shall be proposed and carried out by the courts," Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said. "The margin of one percent is too wide. A new margin of 0.03 percent is more reasonable."

The discussions and review of the amendment were not finished. They will continue today at 3:30pm.

Wang said that issues to be discussed today include the process and regulations for hiring managers for ballot stations and Election Committee members.

The Election Committee is established by the CEC to oversee the smooth administration of each major election

Lawmakers will also decide whether to approve a new rule under which the CEC would choose committee members.

They will also discuss whether video footage should be available from every ballot booth to cut down on potential election fraud.

While the current law states that those who carry cameras or cellphones with camera functions to ballot stations can be sentenced to up to five years in prison, pan-green lawmakers suggested that it should be amended because people who carry these items may not necessarily be involved in fraud.

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