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'Anti-LGBT propaganda' was reportedly found inside voting booths.

Pro-LGBT Group Demands Investigation amid Allegations of Election Misconduct

2018/11/26 , News
Cat Thomas
Credit: Reuters / TPG
Cat Thomas
Cat Thomas is a freelance journalist based in Taipei. She covers anything from culture to tech to travel, and sometimes all of those combined if she can swing it.

A pro-LGBT rights group is demanding that the Central Election Commission investigate allegations of irregularities in the voting process surrounding last Saturday's referendums.

According to a statement published by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR) on its Facebook page on Saturday evening, by 6 p.m, on the day of the referendum the organization had received over 1,000 complaints from the public alleging regarding improper activity at and inside polling stations.

The statement includes allegations of misconduct by election officials inside the polling stations, as well as violations of the electoral and referendum laws through placement of materials that might influence voters within 30 meters of polling stations.

The statement said the organization had received reports of the public receiving voting slips that had already been stamped, selective distribution of the 10 referendum ballots to the public so that not all slips were given to all voters taking part in the referendum, and direct promotion of the anti-LGBT referendums to the public.

The statement details 12 locations across the country where they received reports of displays of ‘anti-LGBT propaganda’ inside the voting booth, in some cases directly attached to the voting tables. While the statement notes that most of the material was removed after being reported to election staff, it also notes that some staff claimed they had placed it there for the convenience of the voters. In the instance of Kaoshuing City 1399 polling station, the statement claims the polling staff directly distributed anti-LGBT propaganda cards to the public.

RTS27BH1
Credit: Reuters / TPG
An LGBT supporter cries after losing the referendum in Taipei, Nov. 24, 2018.

Additionally, it details 10 locations where improper materials, including anti-LGBT propaganda banners and vehicles, were displayed at polling stations. It alleges that some polling stations were slow to rectify the situation after receiving complaints, with a delay of several hours meaning the materials were displayed until close to the end of the polling day.

The statement concluded with a demand from the TAPCPR that the Central Election Committee conduct a thorough investigation and strictly enforce punishment of staff found to have carried out illegal activities on the polling day.

Taiwan’s Referendum Act Article 48 contains legal penalties up to and including the invalidation of a referendum in case of irregularities by ‘personnel handing the referendum’ that may have affected the results. The article states that a lawsuit pushing for the invalidation of a referendum may be filed by prosecutors and the leading proposer of the referendum. In the case that a referendum is invalidated, Article 49 mentions the possibility of the referendum being either entirely invalidated such that voting must be held again, or that parts may be deemed invalidated and held again, or that though parts are deemed invalid the court deems it not to have an overall effect on the result and the referendum shall not be rerun.

Locations detailed in the TAPCPR statement:

The TAPCPR alleges that inappropriate material was displayed at voting booths in the following locations:

Taichung City:
673 Polling Station, 1523 Polling Station of Dongshi District.

New Taipei City:
Zhonghe Elementary School Polling Station, 0896 Polling Station of Banqiao Cihui Temple, Yonghe Elementary School, Yongmingli 12 ward Polling Station Beitou District, Xinfu-li Polling Station Gueishan district, Hougang-Li Community Center Xinzhuang district.

Taichung City:
Shangan Elementary School 0654 Polling Station in Shanan village Xi-Tun, Shanganli Shangan primary school No. 0654 Polling Station.
Nankan Guanming Elementary School Polling Station.

Nantou County:
Puzhong Community Center No. 0323 voting office, Minjian Ward. etc.

The TAPCPR alleges that distribution of illegal materials, and the display of anti-LGBT banners and vehicles at polling stations occurred in:

Taipei City:
Wuxing Elementary School.
New Taipei City:
Fengmingli Community Center, Yingge District.
Chiayi City:
No. 69 polling station.
Kaohsiung City:
No. 1338 polling station, Huoqian Bread of Life Community Center, Fengshan District.
Pingtung County:
Tianxin Village Community Center polling station, Banqiao District No. 0889 polling station.
Taitung County:
Dawang primary school, Dawang Village, Taima Town.
Yilan County:
0208 polling station.
Nantou County:
Caotun Beitou Centre, Guantian Er Village Hu’an Temple Community Center, etc.

Read Next: On the Front Lines of Taiwan's Chaotic Referendums

Editor: David Green (@DavidPeterGreen)

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LGBT+ in Taiwan: Life After the Referendums:

Taiwan's LGBT+ community was dealt a major blow in November's referendums as a vote to enshrine same-sex marriage rights in the Civil Code failed at the polls. However, the fight is far from over to become the first country in Asia to legalize marriage equality.

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