Fri, Jan 13, 2012 - Page 3 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: No link between weather and voter turnout: bureau

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

While some think weather could affect voter turnout in tomorrow’s presidential election, records from the Central Weather Bureau suggest there is no correlation between the two.

Except for the presidential election in March 2004, when a weak northeast monsoon caused sporadic showers in the northern and northeastern regions, the elections in March 1996, March 2000 and March 2008 proceeded under good weather, the bureau said, adding that temperatures during the polls in 2000 and 2008 were between 24°C and 29°C.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) said the lowest voter turnout among the past three presidential elections occurred in 2008, when a 76.33 percent voter turnout rate was recorded. That compares with a voter turnout of 82.69 percent in 2000 and 80.28 percent in 2004. The lowest voter turnout rate was in 1996, at 76.04 percent.

However, with the presidential election this year being moved forward from March to this month, which is on average a colder month, the bureau said it remained to be seen whether voters would be turned off by the weather.

The bureau said that chances of showers would be high on election day in the northern and northeastern regions because of the influence of a rain belt moving in from southeastern China.

However, the rain is not likely to last all day, the bureau said, adding that chances of showers in central and southern Taiwan would be higher in the evening.

Meanwhile, the National Freeway Bureau said that freeway traffic volume could reach 2 million vehicles on election day. It said that traffic might be congested on the southbound sections between Linkou (林口) and Jhongli (中壢) on Freeway No. 1 and between Tucheng (土城) and Longtan (龍潭) on Freeway No. 3.

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