Taiwan polls: Election commission updates regulations for digital age

TAIPEI - The Central Election Commission (CEC) yesterday released an update to the campaigning regulations to accommodate the growing use of smartphone technologies, extending campaign efforts through apps and social media such as promoting a designated candidate through the use of Line and Facebook to 12 a.m. on Nov. 29.

The update came while the CEC reiterated the regulations for campaigns yesterday. According to the CEC, all physical rallies and campaigning events must have ceased at 10 p.m. yesterday, including all illuminating campaign objects such as billboards.

However, as using text messages via cellular devices, social media and communications apps do not obstruct the lives of citizens, such forms of campaigning are allowed until 12 a.m. today.

Reportedly, all campaign violations are subject to NT$50,000 (S$2,101) to NT$5 million in fines.

Taipei DCA Issues Voting Precautions Reminder

In related news, the Taipei City Government's Department of Civil Affairs issued a voting precautions reminder to Taipei citizens recently, in hopes of advising voters against illegal behaviour at polling stations.

The reminder was issued by the DCA to inform the 20-year-old first-time voters of Taipei City to refrain from unknowingly conducting felonies when casting their ballots.

Currently statistics calculated that there are around 30,000 first-time voters in Taipei City alone. The reminder also applies to the other cities and counties of Taiwan, instructing voters of the nation on the dos and don'ts when voting.

Basic reminders that the DCA released include warning voters against bringing cellphones to polling stations, as checking in on social media and photographing at the location are considered punishable felonies.

Voters must present their national identification cards at the voting destinations, and only the new format IDs are will be accepted at the stations, as all old format cards will no longer be acceptable.

All IDs that were reported lost must have been reissued by yesterday, as household registration offices will not be handling any businesses other than voting.

The DCA also said that ballots cast in the wrong box will not be considered invalid. However, corrections will not be allowed, nor will the destruction and stealing of ballots be tolerated.

The CEC also added that in accordance with the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act, individuals bringing cellphones and other recording devices into polling stations are subject to NT$30,000 to NT$300,000 in fines.

To prevent citizens from breaking the law unknowingly, all voting locations will include warning fliers and trays in which voters could place their electronic devices.

The CEC also warned that the time to cast ballots is between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., as in the past, most voters have been known to confuse the schedule with that of the working ours of civil servants.