Sun, Jan 15, 2012 - Page 3 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: Voting proceeds smoothly despite reports of arrests

By Rich Chang  /  Staff Reporter

A screen grab from Chunghwa Telecom Co’s Web site taken before ballot counting began in yesterday’s presidential election already shows President Ma Ying-jeou as the winner. A spokesperson for the company said the screen grab was made by an Internet user while technicians were testing the Web site, and that the page had been removed before voting began yesterday and therefore did not influence voters.

Photo taken from Chunghwa Telecom Co’s Web site

Polling stations around the nation reported orderly voting in the presidential and legislative elections, though some arrests were reported after people tore up their ballots and two fugitives were identified and caught.

Voting started at 8am and polling stations closed at 4pm.

In Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), an elderly man, who said he made a mistake in his party selection on his party ballot, tore up his ballot after asking for a new one and being refused.

A man surnamed Huang (黃) reportedly tore up his legislative ballot in Tanzih District (潭子), Greater Taichung. Huang told police he was emotional because he had lost NT$60 million (US$2 million) in a business in China and he had drunk alcohol before going to the polling station.

In Baihe District (白河), Greater Tainan, a woman was arrested after she defaced her presidential ballot and asked for a new one.

An 80-year-old man in Greater Kaohsiung’s Gushan District (鼓山) destroyed his legislative ballot and told police he had selected the wrong candidate.

An 84-year old man in Pingtung County was reported to have torn up his legislative ballot and said he wanted to vote for an Aboriginal legislative candidate because his wife is an Aborigine, but the polling station had given him a district legislative ballot instead. Police said the man told them that he defaced the ballot because his preferred candidate was not on it.

In Penghu County, a drunk man was also arrested for tearing up his legislative ballot.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) said that under the Election and Recall Act (選舉罷免法), defacing ballots can result in a fine of between NT$5,000 and NT$50,000.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) accused Chunghwa Telecom of posting “Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is elected” on its Web site and its Hinet Web site at 9:31am yesterday, as well as vote counts for the three pairs of presidential candidates.

The TSU said that although Chunghwa later removed the false information, the move could have influenced voters and has violated the election act.

The TSU said it would sue the company.

In Greater Kaohsiung, police said complaints were made against a borough chief named Chen Chin-hsing (陳進興) in Gushan District for allegedly failing to distribute more than 50 voting notices to voters in his borough. Police visited Chen’s office to investigate and seized undelivered notices.

Chen told police that as some voters were not at home when he was delivering the notices, he chose to keep them in his office.

Chen Pao-ter (陳寶德), an official with the Greater Kaohsiung Election Committee, said voters could cast their ballots without having voting notes, but they must bring their ID card, as well as their official chop.

Meanwhile, two fugitives were identified and arrested by police at two polling stations.

A resident of New Taipei City (新北市) surnamed Lee (吳), who had been sentenced to 50 days of labor for poaching, but never showed up to serve his sentence, was detained as soon as he cast his ballots.

According to police, he was determined to vote despite the risk of being captured.

The other fugitive was a Keelung resident surnamed Huang who was wanted for military service violations and narcotics offenses.

Police officers recognized Huang when he walked by a local polling station.

He was taken away by police immediately after he told them he had no intention of voting.

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