With the presidential and legislative elections just eight months away, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators are pushing for legal amendments that would allow the elections to be held on a Sunday rather than a Saturday, and for polling stations to stay open later because of the anticipated high voter turnout.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) has traditionally set polling day on the second or the fourth Saturday of the month in which an election was held, with voting taking place from 8am until 4pm.
DPP legislators, including Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) and Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲), have proposed amendments to the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選舉罷免法) and the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) that would make election day the first Sunday of the election month instead.
Central Election Commission Secretary-General Teng Tien-yu (鄧天祐) said that while he was neutral on the proposal, any delay in ballot counting would have a direct impact on the following workday
DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) has also proposed amending the laws to increase the time that polling stations are open to no less than 10 hours.
The proposal said that voting stations in other countries are already open for longer periods of time, with 10 hours in Germany and Australia, 11 in New Zealand, 12 in Canada, France, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore, and 13 hours in the US and Japan.
Eight hours is insufficient and should be extended to at least 10 hours so that workers can vote after leaving work, they said.
However, the commission said it opposed extending the voting hours because no significant increase in voter turnout was observed in the Dec. 5, 2009, county and city mayor elections, despite the fact that polling stations were open from 7am until 5pm.
TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER