Over 1,000 new polling stations to be opened for 2020 elections: CEC

09/23/2019 12:55 PM
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Taipei, Sept. 23 (CNA) The Central Election Commission (CEC) said Monday it will establish an additional 1,346 polling stations for the January 2020 presidential and legislative elections to avoid the long lines that were seen in the local government elections last year.

With the addition of the 1,346 new polling stations, the total number nationwide will increase to 17,232, with the staff at each one averaging 13.5, CEC Chairman Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) said.

The increased number of polling stations on Jan. 11, 2020 will lower the estimated average number of voters per station from 1,500 to 1,200, he said.

The CEC is taking those steps to avoid the long lines and disorganization that occurred at some polling stations during the local government elections on Nov. 24, 2018, Lee said.

That day, voters encountered long queues, and many had to wait two or three hours to cast their ballots, due in part to the record 10 referendums that were held alongside the elections.

Vote counting began shortly after 4 p.m. -- the official closing time for the polls -- despite the fact that people still in queues outside polling stations across the country were able to check up-to-date election results on their cellphones.

As a result, the integrity of the elections was called into question by some people in the society.

In addition, for the first time in Taiwan's democratic history, the vote counting at some polling stations was not completed until around 3 a.m. the following day.

Then CEC head Chen In-chin (陳英鈐) later resigned amid strong criticism of the disorganization at the polls.

Lee, who failed to win a second term as Yunlin County magistrate during the November elections, was named as Chen's successor.

On Monday, Lee said he will remain impartial as head of the CEC, in accordance with the law.

Although Lee gave up his membership in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party after he was named for the CEC post, he has faced criticisms about his ability to maintain impartiality in the post.

(By Ku Chuan and Joseph Yeh)


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