TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After losing by a razor thin margin in Saturday's mayoral election to Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), Kuomintang (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) today filed a request for a vote recount, coming full circle after originally calling for a recount on Sunday, before then seeking to nullify the election on Monday.
At 11 a.m. this morning, Ting, accompanied by his lawyers arrived at Taipei District Court to file a request for a recount, saying that he "accepts a clean defeat, but he will never allow a dirty win." Ting said that in order to preserve the value of Taiwan's democratic elections, it is necessary to appeal for a ballot count again, and to then file suit to nullify the votes and election, if irregularities are found with the ballots.
Ting had to pay a cash deposit about NT$4.28 million (US$138,000) in Taipei District Court this morning in accordance with the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act to move the vote recounting procedure forward.
After losing to Ko by only 3,254 votes out 1,414,816 votes cast, Ting made a speech at his campaign headquarters following the completion of the election vote count after 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, vowing to challenge the results by taking legal action to initiate a recount. He said that, because of the delay caused by voters receiving and casting so many referendum ballots, voting for the mayoral race was still taking place while vote counting had begun at some polling stations, making the election results invalid.
He also criticized the slow pace of the vote counting, with some polling stations taking a total of 11 hours to complete the vote counting at around 3 a.m., making it the longest vote counting in Taiwan's election history. One of the major factors that added a layer of complexity to this year's election was the concurrent holding of the local election with 10 referendums, plus the fact that Taiwanese citizens are entitled to vote if they enter the polling station queue before 4.00 p.m.
On Monday, Ting’s lawyer Chou Kuo-tai (周國代) and his spokesperson Chan Wei-yuan (詹為元) went to the Taiwan Taipei District Court to formally retract his application to recount the votes. He then announced that he would begin a legal process in a bid to rule the outcome invalid under provisions of Article 118 of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act.
However, on Tuesday, the Kuomintang (KMT) said it was willing to pay for half of the cost of the recount, while KMT New Taipei City council member Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said he would donate NT$1 million. Ting officially refused the donations, but he filed the paperwork and paid the fees to start the recount the next day.
Ting told Apple Daily that "Over the past two days, the Ting Shou-chung team has received too many facts from grassroots managers, polling office staff, and righteous voters that the election work was carried out in an illegal way... They all left their names and telephone numbers and are willing to testify in court."