The Central Election Commission is mulling criminal complaints against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which it suspects of forging signatures on a referendum petition to reduce air pollution, a commission official said yesterday.
The commission has determined that there is cause to suspect electoral fraud and officials would convene on Tuesday to decide the proposal’s fate, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The KMT submitted 497,302 signatures for the second phase of the referendum proposal, initiated by KMT Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), but the commission had ruled 182,848 signatures, or 36.8 percent, invalid by Thursday last week, the official said.
More than 2 percent of signatures belonged to dead people, including some who died long before the petitions were signed, the source said, adding that a significant number of signatures were in the same handwriting styles.
Suspected use of dead people’s identities or and forged signatures were identified on 89,043 petitions, they said, adding that considering the number, the KMT might be liable under the Criminal Code.
The highest number of dead signatories were recorded in Taipei at 2,591, or 4.7 percent, followed by New Taipei City with 1,759 and Taoyuan with 1,058 signatures, or about 2.8 in both municipalities, the source said.
In Kaohsiung, 35,892 signatures out of about 71,000 — or about 50 percent — appeared forged, followed by 16,319 in Taipei and 8,672 in Tainan, or about 20 percent in those municipalities, they said.
There were 18,451 petitions with duplicate signatures, 13,409 petitions containing incorrect or illegible names, 12,205 with incorrect or illegible ID numbers and 34,299 with incorrect or illegible addresses, the official said.
It is unreasonable to assume that 60,000 people were confused about their name, registered address or ID number, and a far more likely explanation is that the errors stemmed from copying or forgery, the official said.
The commission confirmed that it would on Tuesday deliberate on how to proceed with the KMT’s referendum proposals.
It reiterated that it is an independent agency, and would follow the law and due procedure.
This story has been corrected since it was first published.
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