Vote-rigging by the KMT in the 2012 elections?
Echo Taiwan posted an article about possible vote rigging by the KMT during the 2012 presidential election. This is resonant to the problem I mentioned in my previous post. The article in Echo Taiwan emphasised the abnormalities and irregularities in the computer records on the Election Day, which may be a result of a real attempt to temper with the record in Ma’s favour or system/programming glitch but may also be explained away by genuine mistakes.
The mysterious warning message ‘689’ appearing several times before the election, with the person categorically saying that everyone would know what it meant on 14th Jan was intriguing. After the election, the person posted another message, saying that he had thought that number would be the total number of votes for Tsai because she was much more popular than Ma. Some pro-KMT reporters and commentators emphasised the possibility of that person being someone having psychic power or premonition when the more logical ones started to suspect that the race was fixed before it even started. There’s no direct physical evidence to support the notion of the race being fixed but there is more and more evidence for rather widespread vote counting violations. I would like to add information on those violations witnessed by the public.
- A video clip (see below) shows that staff did not call out the name selected on ballot papers before recording the votes. When an observer corrected them, the staff got stroppy. As you can see, the man calling out the number selected on the ballot papers did it at the top speed. He did not show each paper to the observers for sufficient time. One can also see that Number 3 (James Soong) was called out 5 times altogether but only recorded twice on the sheet. Also, all the ballot papers were sorted into piles before counting, which is illegal. In the past, the KMT staff mixed in extra ballot papers (with the KMT candidate pre-selected on them of course) during the sorting.
- A 76 year old lady received a ballet paper with the KMT pre-selected on it. She had to argue with the polling staff to get a blank one! This made me wonder how many KMT polling staff took advantage of elderly voters.
- An observer found the staff called out Tsai’s name once but handed two ballot papers over and called out Ma’s name twice when there was only one paper with Ma selected…
- Three days after the election, a supporter of DPP legislative candidate, Tsai Yi-yu, found ballot papers by the river. All three were votes for Tsai. Probably no one will ever know how they got out of the polling station(s) and ballot box(es). More importantly, were there more that got out?
- An inspector found the staff didn’t use the right recording/reporting form and the record showed the DPP legislative candidate, Chien Yu-yen, having 52 votes when it was supposed to be 523 according to the photo she took on the results.
- This observer found that the staff were really strict about those with Tsai’s name selected but really lax with those for Ma, even those that should have been counted as invalid. The observer also questioned why there was no DPP inspector in that station.
- Counting of all 3 types of ballots went on at the same time, which made it difficult for inspectors/observers to hear/see things accurately. This was actually in breach of the rules and regulations.
Not only was the vote counting dodgy, a lot of people, paid by the KMT, asked voters to vote for Ma within 30m of the polling stations on the Election Day (please see the Talking Show on 31st January). ‘Vote buying’ also appeared to be widespread. The reason why we don’t hear much about it was probably the inaction of the law enforcement when it comes to the KMT. This may also be because the KMT changed their tactic – they paid potential green supporters NOT to go out and vote rather than asked them to vote for the KMT. The KMT workers either asked those people to hand over their ID cards and withhold them until after the election or directly threaten to do those people harm if their names appear in the register. In fact, when the prosecutor who ranked top in investigating and prosecuting election bribery got transferred to Kinmen and put in charge of something else last July, the DPP did question what the KMT was trying to do in the upcoming elections.
The DPP spokesperson said that they had received a lot of complaints through telephone calls and faxes, the same as the Talking Show. We may hear more stories like this. The scale of the problems in the 2012 elections may actually be more serious than previous general elections since 1996. It appears that the old KMT is back but operates in a much more covert manner. It would be premature to say that this election had gone smoothly or was more mature than previous ones. Again, I am not claiming that such violations resulted in Tsai’s loss but I’m not ruling out the possibility of it being one of the contributing factors. It doesn’t look like Tsai Ing-wen or the DPP are demanding a recount as this depends on the legal remit and the amount of concrete evidence they can gather. Nevertheless, it’s still important to look into those problems for future elections. The bottom line is that everyone who turns up to vote has the right to demand their ballot papers being dealt with properly and everyone who wishes to vote for a certain candidate has the right to feel safe to do so.
Some have been wondering why the DPP was so complacent about monitoring, especially when they had already spotted signs of dodgy dealings before the election. I’ll talk about this in my next post.