The Central Election Commission (CEC) plans to conduct a survey to gauge the public's opinion on holding elections on Sundays, as opposed to the current practice of having them on Saturdays.
“We’re considering changing the voting day to Sunday because not everybody has Saturdays off,” CEC secretary-general Teng Tien-yu (鄧天祐) said yesterday.
One of the proposals under discussion is to make the second and fourth Sundays of a month potential voting days, since most people who work in traditional small businesses have alternate Saturdays off.
CEC officials said that most major elections are usually held on Saturdays based on a consensus of the Executive Yuan, rather than on law.
On Oct. 14, 2004, the Executive Yuan reached a consensus to hold central and local elections on the second or the fourth Saturday of a month.
According to the CEC, the survey will be carried nationwide next month, and the results are likely to be available in mid-July.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲), whose party has made similar proposals in the past, lent support to the CEC plan.
“Originally, the purpose of holding elections on Saturdays was because everybody worked on Saturdays before the two-day weekend began,” Huang said, “so by holding elections on Saturdays and allowing people to take the day off, we intended to provide an incentive to increase voter turnout.”
Now that most of people have Saturdays off, “there’s no longer the need,” he said.
However, the CEC has concerns over Sunday elections.
“We’re a bit worried that if we hold elections on Sundays, people would be too excited or depressed about the results, and may have a hard time returning to work on Monday,” Teng said.
Meanwhile, in other news, the CEC said that although Taiwan has no laws regulating election campaigning in China, if there is hard evidence of vote-buying there, offenders will be turned over to Taiwanese authorities.
CEC chairman Chang Cheng-hsiung (張政雄) made the remarks on Wednesday during a meeting of local election commission officials to review the Jan. 12 legislative elections and the March 22 presidential poll.
According to Kinmen election commission officials, media reports claimed that during the legislative election campaign, several candidates had traveled across the Taiwan Strait to Xiamen to canvass support among the numerous Taiwanese who travel by sea between Kinmen and Xiamen under a direct transportation arrangement.
The officials urged the CEC to draw up measures to regulate such behavior.
Chang said that according to a major cross-strait bill, the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), it is an encroachment on China’s governing power for Taiwanese people to travel to the mainland for the purpose of campaigning.
“China could deal with them in accordance with its own law and Taiwan would have no jurisdiction over the matter,” he said, “but if Taiwanese candidates engage in vote-buying and the CEC got hold of solid evidence, then the candidates would be turned over to Taiwanese judicial authorities.”