Update: 60 ballots 'evaporate' on first day of Taipei mayoral race recount

Election staff member reports '60 ballots evaporated from Earth' during Taipei mayoral election recount

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Ting (left), Ko (right).

Ting (left), Ko (right). (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- On the first day of a recount of the Taipei City mayoral election yesterday (Dec. 3), it has been discovered that over 60 ballots had "evaporated" from one ballot box alone, reported ETtoday.

On election day, incumbent Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) defeated his closest challenger Kuomintang (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) by a razor thin margin of 3,254 votes. After first calling for a recount, then threatening legal action to have the election nullified, Ting finally settled on a recount on Nov. 28.

Yesterday, the first day of a process that is expected to take eight to 10 days, an article was posted by a netizen who goes by the handle "Go1denDargon金龍," on the popular Taiwanese online forum PTT describing the status of ballot checking in Da-an District. The netizen started out by saying that two ballot boxes had been reviewed by his team and fewer than 10 votes had been rejected.

The netizen wrote that out of 3,000 ballots inspected in one box, only one was disputed and that it would probably result in Ting losing one vote. However, in the case of another box, which had been clearly marked as having 3,000 ballots, only 2,940 were found inside, prompting the netizen to write "60 ballots evaporated from the earth."

In response, Ting's camp said, "The election work is so imprecise, that's ridiculous," and said that they are asking the judge to investigate the ballots.

Currently, 208 ballot boxes have been inspected, representing about 13 percent of the total. The ballot recount work is being divided among 50 groups, each of which consists of a total of six people, including a judge, clerk, electoral staff, and lawyers from both sides. The recount is restricted to a period of 13 days.

Update: 12/04 5:00 p.m.

Apple Daily reports that a lawyer from Ting's camp, Yeh Ching-yuan (葉慶元), confirmed the fact that 60 ballots had been lost from a box of 3,000 ballots during yesterday's inspection. However, he disclosed that the exact number was actually "a little more" than 60, but that the election panel had issued a "seal order" on the matter.

Early this morning, the Taipei District Court said the shortage of votes was probably due to the careless misplacement of empty ballots. It was only by noon today that the missing 60-plus ballots for the No. 1224 ballot office in Da'an District had finally been found.

Taipei District Court officials said the reason why the ballots were missing is because they had been inadvertently jumbled together with ballots for city councilor races.

When questioned by reporters if there were more cases of missing ballots, Ye said "I'm not too sure, but we saw this case mentioned by someone."