Tue, Nov 25, 2014 - Page 3 News List

2014 ELECTIONS: Appendectomy Project raises privacy concerns

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

The Appendectomy Project — a campaign to recall Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Alex Tsai (蔡正元), Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) and Lin Hong-chih (林鴻池) — yesterday demanded that the Central Election Commission (CEC) redesign its recall petition forms and threatened to take legal action if its demands are not met.

The group said the forms discouraged people from participating in recall campaigns, since one of the forms is used to record the personal information of seven signatories, prompting privacy concerns.

“Our system for recalling elected public servants is already filled with problems. Does the Central Election Commission want to further obstruct the recall process with petty moves such as an ill-designed petition form?” said the group’s spokesperson, known as “Mr Lin from Taipei” (台北林先生).

The forms given to the project by the commission are different from those given to a recall campaign last year, which used separate sheets of paper for each petitioner, Lin said.

Commission Chairperson Liu I-chou (劉義周) has neglected his duties, Lin said, adding that he might sue Liu after Saturday’s elections.

An Appendectomy Project volunteer known as “Mr Hsieh from Neihu” (內湖謝先生) said four out of 10 people shied away from the petition after they saw the official forms because they did not want other petitioners to see their personal information, including their national identification number or address.

The project’s recall campaign against Tsai entered its second phase on Nov. 16, after collecting over 6,000 signatures from voters in Tsai's constituency, Taipei’s Neihu (內湖) and Nangang (南港) districts.

The current phase of the petition will require the support of 38,939 more petitioners — 13 percent of eligible voters in Tsai’s constituency — before Dec 15, in order to meet the requirements for a recall referendum to take place.

The group demanded the commission allow an additional 15 days for the petition period to make up for the “problematic” forms.

Chuang Kuo-hsiang (莊國祥), director of the commission’s Division of Electoral Affairs, said petition forms cannot be changed to suit activists’ wishes and the length of petitions is stipulated by law.

The name “Appendectomy Project” was chosen because in Mandarin Chinese, the term for pan-blue-camp legislators, lan wei (藍委), is pronounced the same as “appendix” (闌尾).

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