Sunday, December 21, 2008

Vouchers and Vote Buying

The Miaoli county by-election date has been set. Why is there a by-election? The KMT winner had his victory invalidated for vote-buying:
[Lee E-tin (李乙廷)], a former secretary-general of the Miaoli County Farmers’ Association, garnered 64,817 votes in the Jan. 12 election against 46,905 votes for two-term legislator Tu Wen-ching (杜文卿) of the Democratic Progressive Party.

Tu filed a civil suit seeking the invalidation of Lee’s election.

The court verdict said Lee made 16 visits to temples in Yuanli and Jhunan — two of the eight townships in one of Miaoli County’s two electoral districts — between June and October last year.

During that time he made donations and solicited support via his campaign aides for his election bid. Because Lee had not been previously known to make donations to temples and had only done so during the election campaign, the court ruled they were designed to improperly influence voter behavior.
There's an interesting confluence of things here. I've blogged before on the role of farmers associations in local politics -- note that Lee is a former official of the County farmers association, an influential position indeed. Where does he go to buy votes? To the local temples, because the temple associations often play a key role in their local politics as well.

So...if giving money to local temples -- at least once removed from the voters -- is vote buying, what is the ruling party giving money directly to the voters in the form of vouchers?

Economic stimulus.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, in some sense, the latest " fake cash aka vouchers " would definitely be used to buy votes. Who knows how much vouchers they would print out?

Also Michael, I feel that it's pretty suspicious to have the expiry date to be like December nextyear. Clases with state elections, so... lie you said, vouchers can also be used to buy votes. Morever, they can prit as much as they like.

Can you also blog on businessmen allowed to use the vouchers in China?

Anonymous said...

And to make sure everyone gets the message, they have to go to polling stations to get them. The whole thing is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

what about the chinese economic aid plan? A lot of us are interested to hear your thoughts on that.