We have an update on the absentee ballot proposal that the Executive Yuan is preparing which I referenced in yesterday’s show.
Taipei Times is reporting the following:
“A draft bill from the Central Election Commission (CEC) would allow absentee voting on referendums across municipal and county lines, but would not allow for voting abroad or online, a source said yesterday.
Opposition party members have been calling for the implementation of absentee voting, but the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has opposed it, citing concerns over information security and fraud.
Due to such concerns, the commission’s bill — which has been submitted to the Executive Yuan for review — would not contain provisions for voting online or from abroad, the source said, adding that people would have to apply to be eligible for absentee voting.”
Further down in the article is this:
“Attitudes in the DPP toward absentee voting remain conservative, the source said, adding that some DPP members have pointed to issues with mailed-in ballots in the most recent US presidential election.
There were also information security concerns that would make online voting questionable, the source said.”
Assuming this single source is reliable, and from the comments on the DPP’s attitude it rings true, then this clears up a lot.
The DPP has traditionally been against absentee voting, which is why I was so surprised that this was being proposed in yesterday’s show.
This is a tentative toe in the waters of absentee voting.
Limiting it to referendums is a way to test it out without risking trying it in a general election.
It also sets a precedent, which could be used to eventually expand it if it works well.
They’re not making it easy, having to specially apply for it.
And, as expected, there will be no online or overseas voting.
One big question remains, will it apply to the referendums in December?
The KMT is pushing for an extraordinary legislative session to discuss the bill, but citing the pandemic, the Executive Yuan is punting it to the next formal session in September.
Strategically, of course the KMT wants to move up the schedule on this to ensure it applies in December–after all, two of the referendums are sponsored by the KMT.
The biggest challenge facing passing their referendums isn’t public opinion–it’s on the KMT’s side in both cases.
Their real challenge will be turnout, and this would help them on that front.
Looked at from a purely strategic viewpoint, it’s puzzling the DPP is allowing this to go forward now.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they intentionally drag their heels on this so it won’t apply in December, as the DPP doesn’t want any of them to pass.
They’re not going to want to do the KMT any favours.
There’s also another element to this that no seems to have noticed.
If it passes, and the KMT’s referendum on merging referendum voting dates with general election dates also passes, this could set up a situation in 2022 where voters will be able to vote by absentee ballot in that election–but not vote for candidates in local elections using the same method.
In another article in the Taipei Times, in spite of previous criticism, it appears the KMT is on board for the delayed referendum vote
“KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Jessica Chen (陳玉珍) said that the caucus supports delaying the referendum, but questions the legal basis for the move.
The amended Referendum Act (公民投票法), which separates referendums from general elections, does not provide a legal basis for delaying referendums, the KMT caucus said, calling for an extraordinary session to amend the act to allow for postponements.”
This appears to be both a legitimate concern for law, and a move to try and put pressure to get that extraordinary session.
She kind of tips her hand here: “These “kinks” need to be ironed out during an extraordinary session, and there is no reason why the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should be afraid of convening such a session.”
There is also an update on the Chen Po-wei recall.
Turns out that the Aug. 28 date for that is tentative and the Central Election Commission (CEC) will reconvene on July 16 to determine if they are going to push the date back.
Reporting yesterday noted that it needs to be held after 60 days of certifying the recall, which leaves them some time to push it back.
KMT caucus secretary-general Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) in an online news conference said she was puzzled as to why the commission had unanimously voted to delay the upcoming referendum on four proposals, while leaving the Chen recall for deliberation.
She’s got a point, it is puzzling.
Image courtesy of the KMT’s FB page