Nearly 40 percent of public unaware of referendum rules: survey

2018/11/02 17:05:40 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Nearly 40 percent of public unaware of referendum rules: survey

Taipei, Nov. 2 (CNA) Nearly 40 percent of Taiwan's electorate are unaware of the country's referendum regulations as Nov. 24 local government elections alongside 10 referendums approach, according to the results of a recent survey.

The results of the survey conducted by the Grassroots Influence Foundation from Oct. 18-23 show that 38.2 percent of the respondents did not know the rules governing referendums and how they will be conducted alongside the local elections.

Some 32 percent said they had no idea that the referendums and local elections will be held in two stages, while 48.3 percent said they did not know that people aged 18 and over will be eligible to cast votes in the referendums.

While 71.5 percent of the respondents said the government has failed to adequately promote knowledge about referendums, 50.9 percent answered "no" when asked specifically whether they knew that polling station staff will not ask voters if they want to take the referendum ballot papers to vote on the referendums after casting their ballots for local government chiefs, the survey indicated.

Asked whether the Central Election Commission has played an independent and neutral role in the upcoming elections, 45.5 percent said "no," ahead of 21.2 percent who answered "yes."

Hu Po-yen (胡博硯), an associate professor at Soochow University's School of Law, said the poll results show that most of the public are not familiar with the referendum regulations, which will make the holding of the 10 referendums more complicated.

He suggested a law amendment to allow elections and referendums to be held separately, or to prolong the voting period in the future.

Yen Yung-shen (顏永森), a professor at Providence University's Department of Computer Science and Information Management, contended that the government should make more efforts to give the public a better understanding of the game rules so as to allow them to decide whether or not to cast referendum ballots, given that the results will weigh on future government policy directions.

The foundation collected 1,100 valid samples, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.95 percentage points.

(By Chen Chih-chung and Flor Wang)
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