The Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee yesterday completed an initial review of draft amendments to election and recall laws that would allow Aboriginal voters in national elections to cast their ballots in counties or cities different from their registered places of residence.
Under the draft amendments, Aborigines who are eligible to vote in legislative elections can, within a specified timeframe, turn in a written application to the household registration office of their registered place of residence to vote in a different county or city.
The amendments would affect Article 17 of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) and Article 17 of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選舉罷免法).
The Constitution clearly states that it is a basic human right for people to participate in elections and politics and vote, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Sra Kacaw (鄭天財) and other lawmakers said in their proposal.
Due to school, work and other factors, Aborigines live all over the country, resulting in a lower turnout rate, they said, adding that the electoral districts of Aboriginal candidates in mountain and plain areas span the entire nation, making the vote appropriate for setting an example of voting outside people’s registered place of residence.
Under the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act, the electoral districts of Aboriginal candidates for the mountain and plains areas are made up of plains Aborigines — commonly known as Pingpu — and mountain Aborigines respectively, rather than specific administrative regions.
The required application documents and screening, as well as how to publish the voter list, deliver voting notices and perform other tasks, would be decided by the Central Election Commission, the draft amendments say.
In his proposal, Sra Kacaw, an Amis, said that considering the level of trust in domestic politics and the feasibility of the administrative tasks, implementation of absentee voting should first be trialed during the presidential and vice presidential election.
Sra Kacaw, who chaired the committee meeting, said that the draft amendments would still need to go through negotiations between the ruling and opposition parties before they could be submitted for deliberation in a plenary session.