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Two Chiayi County workers cleared in ballot incident

2018/11/21 19:33:56

Taipei, Nov. 21 (CNA) Two local government employees in Chiayi County who were stopped by police in a restricted area with a carton of ballots on Sunday have not been charged because investigators have determined that there was no felonious intent, the Chiayi District Prosecutors Office said Tuesday.

One of the employees left a ballot printing facility in Shuishang Township carrying a box, which was found to contain packets of ballots for Chiayi County local government elections, the prosecutors said.

Upon questioning, the employee told prosecutors that he was assisting his colleague, a woman, who was distributing lunchboxes to other workers at the government-contracted printery that day, and he was not aware that the box he had picked up contained ballots, the prosecutors office said.

Under the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act, it is felony to withhold, destroy, conceal, or replace election ballots, and the maximum penalty is five years in prison.

The box was found to contain of 333 ballots in six paper bags for election of the county's local government officials, including county head, county councilors and village chiefs, according to the prosecutors office.

Investigators said the bags had been packed by the woman and were labeled "extra ballots" for each local government position, which was part of her job.

There was no intent on the part of the employees to steal the ballots, prosecutors said.

Also, the man carrying the box of ballots did not appear ill at ease when police in the restricted area asked to examine the box, prosecutors said.

As a result, no charges were brought against the two employees, prosecutors said.

(By Huang Kuo-fang and Elizabeth Hsu)