Fri, Nov 30, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Shieh sings praises of one-step voting

CAUSE FOR CONFUSION The government spokesman said that the two-step procedure could lead some voters to inadvertently forget to cast referendum ballots

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The one-step voting format adopted by the Central Election Commission (CEC) for the Jan. 12 legislative election and referendums has three advantages over the two-step procedure favored by pan-blue authorities, Government Spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said yesterday.

"Adopting the one-step voting procedure can ensure secrecy and the public's right to cast referendum ballots, as well as being convenient for voters," Sheih told a press conference held to outline differences between the formats.

Under the one-step voting procedure, voters will receive two ballots for the legislative elections from one table and then two referendum ballots from another table on entering a polling station.

After voting in a polling booth, they will then cast their ballots into four different boxes before they leaving the polling station from the room's only exit.

The two tables for distributing ballots, the polling booth, and the four ballot boxes will be placed so they form a one-way route for voters to proceed.

"It is a money-saving and manpower-saving approach, characterized by simplification. A situation where voters might forget to cast referendum ballots is not going to happen. Voters won't be given referendum ballots if they don't want to cast the ballots," Shieh said.

Under the two-step voting format favored by pan-blue local government chiefs, voters first pick up and cast election ballots before they proceed to the other side of the polling station for the referendum votes.

"[The arrangements for the two-step voting format] are rather complicated," Shieh said. "Voters might leave the polling station by mistake and fail to proceed to the other side to pick up and cast their referendum ballots if the polling station has two exits."

Once voters leave a polling station they cannot re-enter.

The two-step voting process fails to ensure secrecy as the arrangement makes it easier for people to see if voters have cast referendum ballots, he said.

In a related development, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday evening changed its mind and decided to postpone the pushing of a proposed amendment related to the organization of the CEC as it previously planned to do in today's plenary session.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), a KMT member, said the KMT caucus had decided to allow its legislators to stay in their own electoral districts to run campaigns for the moment.

The change of heart likely prevents potential clashes between the pan-green and the pan-blue camps in today's plenary session as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had threatened to go head to head with the KMT should the KMT propose to prioritize the proposed amendment in the session.

The KMT proposed to select CEC members according to the ratio of seats held by each political party in the legislature.

KMT Spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) yesterday said the party headquarters' decision to push through the proposal by the end of the legislative session remained unchanged.

Earlier yesterday, DPP caucus whip Wang Tuoh (王拓) said the KMT caucus' insistence on prioritizing amendment of the bill would delay other important bills.

Additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang

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