Thu, Nov 08, 2007 - Page 2 News List

CEC holds public hearing on ballot hand-out system

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Supporters of different voting procedures debated how election and referendum ballots should be distributed during a public hearing held by the Central Election Commission (CEC) yesterday.

Two referendums, one sponsored by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on retrieving the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) stolen assets, and another by the KMT on giving the legislature the power to investigate the president, the vice president, their family members and subordinates for corruption, will be held alongside the legislative elections on Jan. 12.

To simplify the voting process, some commission members have proposed a "one-step voting" process, whereby the election and referendum ballots would be handed to voters at the entrance to polling stations and the voters would cast the ballots together.

Pan-blue politicians, however, insist a "two-step voting" process be maintained, whereby voters first cast their legislative election ballot before receiving their referendum ballots.

Representatives from the pan-blue camp warned yesterday that changing the procedures could create post-election problems.

"Getting too many ballots at the same time would confuse people," said People First Party representative Lee Yi-kuang (李宜光).

Under the current one-step voting process, election ballots dropped into referendum ballot boxes would be counted as valid and referendum ballots dropped into election ballot boxes would also be valid.

As election ballots would be counted first, Lee worried that election results could be overturned when election ballots from referendum boxes are tallied.

"If miscast ballots overturn the election results, an upheaval would occur," Lee said.

* Under the "one-step voting" system, voters would receive ballots for the election and referendums at the entrance to polling stations and cast the ballots at the same time.

* Under a "two-step voting" process, voters first cast their election ballot before receiving their referendum ballots.


Soochow University political science professor Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) disagreed.

"Let's recall what happened after the 2004 election -- there was still political turmoil after the election even though the two-step voting system was in place," Hsu said.

"Meanwhile, since a certain political camp was opposed to the [2004] referendum, choosing to receive a referendum ballot or not revealed your political leanings, which should be kept secret," Hsu said.

The CEC will make a final decision on the voting procedure later this month.

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