Voting mostly went smoothly yesterday, with scattered incidents of electoral rules being broken, including ballots being destroyed or people taking mobile phones into polling booths.
Voting in the presidential and legislative elections began at 8am at polling stations nationwide, and ended at 4pm.
In Miaoli County, a 56-year-old man surnamed Liu (劉) was reported to have torn up all three of his ballots, because he made a mistake on the party ballot.
Liu told police that upon noticing his error, he panicked and did not know what to do.
In Nantou County, a Vietnam-born immigrant tore up her legislative ballot after she realized she had used her personal seal to stamp the ballot. Poll workers notified police after she walked out of the voting booth and requested a new one.
She told police that she was not thinking clearly when she destroyed the ballot.
Only ballots stamped by the official stamp available at polling stations would be counted, the Nantou County Election Commission said, adding that if a mistake was made, people should still put their ballots into the boxes.
In Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township (麥寮), a man was referred to police after he destroyed a ballot in front of other voters.
Poll workers said that the reason was unknown, but that he reeked of alcohol.
Another man in Mailiao was also taken to police for tearing up a ballot.
He told poll workers that the party ballot was too long and he became irritated after several failed attempts to fit it into the box.
Under the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), defacing ballots can result in a fine of NT$5,000 to NT$50,000.
In Taipei’s Shilin District (士林), a 40-year-old man surnamed Chang (張) was referred to the police after his phone rang while he was voting, while a man in Keelung was arrested for taking his mobile phone into the voting booth and using it to take a photograph of his stamped ballot.
The Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選舉罷免法) states that anyone who takes a mobile phone or other camera equipment into a polling station faces a sentence of up to one year in prison, or a fine of up to NT$30,000, the Keelung City Election Commission said.
In Changhua County, it was reported that a person demanded a new ballot after he accidentally left an ink imprint on the ballot beneath the one he stamped.
The ink pad on site was too wet, he said.
A squabble ensued, as his request was rejected.
The special review committee from the Changhua County Election Commission arrived and ruled that the man should be given a new ballot, making him the first person in the nation’s history to be given a second presidential ballot.
Meanwhile, a longtime fugitive, wanted for a crime allegedly committed four years ago, was caught by police at a polling station in Kaohsiung yesterday.
The fugitive was spotted when he arrived at the Juy Guang Elementary School to vote, said Tai Chuan-cheng (戴銓成), head of the Zuoying Precinct substation.
The police officer who spotted the suspect chose to wait until the man had cast his vote before arresting him, Tai said.
However, when the man was arrested he said that he was not aware that he had been listed as a wanted suspect and had been working odd jobs in several places outside Kaohsiung, Tai said.
According to the National Police Agency, 49 breaches of electoral laws were reported yesterday, including 17 cases where a mobile phone or other camera equipment was brought to a polling station and 13 cases where ballots were destroyed.
Additional reporting by CNA
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