DPP to initiate grassroots election training program

By Lin Shu-hui and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Sun, Jan 06, 2013 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is preparing to launch a grassroots program to train at least 30,000 supporters nationwide as campaign workers and “ballot-box monitors,” in preparation for next year’s seven-in-one elections, party officials said.

The seven-in-one elections are to be held for all directly elected local government positions. These positions are: special municipality mayors and councilors; county commissioners; city mayors; county and city councilors; township mayors and councilors; and borough and village wardens.

According to the head of the DPP’s Department of Organizational Development, Lee Wen-chung (李文忠), the party aims to have at least two monitors at each of the more than 14,800 polling stations on the day of the elections.

The training program is slated to start immediately after the Lunar New Year holidays, Lee added.

“These trained grassroots workers will help solicit support from voters, as well as fight any rumors or false information spread by candidates of other parties. On election day, the grassroots workers will be our ‘ballot box monitors’ to help oversee and record the ballot-counting, as well as check on activities both inside and outside polling stations,” Lee said.

According to party officials, the perfect situation would be to have a four-person team monitoring polling stations and ballot boxes. This would require more than 60,000 people to be at all polling stations across the nation.

However, out of concern that the party may not be able to recruit enough manpower in parts of some constituencies, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has set a target of two people at each polling station.

“Su has demanded that the Department of Organizational Development fulfill this target. However, it will be so much better for strengthening the DPP at the grassroots level if we can train 50,000 to 60,000 individuals,” Lee said.

Those who complete the training program are to receive a certificate and a cap to become an official member of the DPP’s “grassroots campaign workers” team, he added.

“After the training program is launched, party members and grassroots workers will begin discussing potential candidates for the ‘seven-in-one elections,’” Lee said.

He added that the party plans to hold workshops for aspiring candidates, providing them with information on topics such as how to organize a campaign team, how to run a campaign and other electoral issues.

However, Lee stressed that it does not mean people taking part in the training workshops would automatically run in the election under the DPP banner, as each candidate has to go through the routine party nomination process.