3 months needed to prepare for absentee voting: election chief
Central News Agency
2013-03-18 10:45 PM
Taipei, March 18 (CNA) Absentee voting will be used in a proposed referendum on the future of the controversial fourth nuclear power plant, but it will take one to three months to prepare for the voting process, Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairwoman Chang Po-ya confirmed Monday. Speaking at the Legislative Yuan's Internal Affairs Committee, Chang said it would take less than six months for the process to be set up or as little as three months, after the referendum proposal is submitted to the commission. Holding a referendum will cost NT$780 million, and an additional NT$80 million will be required if absentee voting is used for the referendum, said Chang. Chang added that absentee voting will not be allowed in combined elections and even if it is used, polling stations will not be set up in prisons and detention centers. Chang said that absentee voting will be initially promoted for use in single-issue national referendums and presidential elections. The announcement came after the results of a survey conducted between March 8-11 were released showing that 76 percent of Taiwan's people support implementing absentee voting in general elections and referendums. In addition, 81 percent believed absentee voting will increase voter turnout rates. Opposition party lawmakers had charged Premier Jiang Yi-huah with violating Article 13 of the referendum law, which says that no Executive Yuan organ may "carry out a referendum or commission any other organization to carry out a referendum over any topic." Violation of the article is punishable by a fine and six months to three years behind bars, according to Article 52. However, Chen Wei-zen, Cabinet secretary general, defended Jiang, saying that the nuclear power plant referendum was initiated by lawmakers, which is in accordance with the law. Chen argued the Cabinet did not propose a nuclear power plant referendum, nor did it commission any other body to carry out such a referendum. (By Claudia Liu, Lee Shu-hua and Y.L. Kao)
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