Election worker dies in crash on way to polling booth
An election worker died in a car accident on her way to the polling station in Tachia town in Taichung County, the only casualty related to yesterday's 3-in-1 election.
The victim was a 22-year-old woman named Chen Ching-yi. Chen was a junior high school teacher, it was reported.
According to the police, she rode her motorcycle to the booth yesterday morning but collided on the way with a nine-seat van. She was rushed to hospital but was later reported dead.
Taichung County Magistrate Huang Chung-sheng, who won re-election yesterday, visited the hospital to offer his condolences to Chen's family.
The Central Election Commission, meanwhile, said that it would give compensation money to the tune of NT$2million to the deceased's family.
Taichung police said yesterday that a text message alleging Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) was rushed to hospital due to serious illness was sent from cellular phones registered in the Philippines.
Police made the announcement after some Taichung residents received the text message at around 4 a.m., earlier in the day.
Hu, who won another term in yesterday's election, voted in the central Taiwan city as scheduled, clearly putting to rest speculation about his health.
According to initial investigations, police said the text message was sent from cell phones registered in the Philippines and that there were at least two sources of the transmission, with one number being 639-163-946-821.
Police said that if the Filipino-registered cell phone was brought to Taiwan to send the text message, then it would be easier to track down, but that if the text message was sent from the Philippines or via the Internet, then it will be hard to trace.
Lin Chin-hsin, a lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party as well as a practicing medical doctor, together with 11 other doctors, recently revealed what they said were Hu's medical records during a news conference. Hu has twice had mild strokes. The doctors were attempting to show that Hu might not be healthy enough to serve another term.
Lin and the 11 doctors are now being investigated whether they violated their ethical code of not infringing upon a patient's privacy by revealing his medical records.
Hu, who defeated DPP candidate Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) took the matter in his stride, saying tongue-in-cheek that he would live to be 95 and would invite President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to his birthday party then, although he wasn't sure if Chen would still be alive.
In Taipei County - Taiwan's biggest county - a keen battle between Kuomintang nominee Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) and Democratic Progressive Party nominee Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉), saw one of Luo's supporters attempt to commit suicide in front of Luo's campaign headquarters.
The incident occurred during the vote-counting process and appeared to triggered by the fact the count was indicating that the poll was slipping away from Luo.
The individual attempted to stab himself with a knife before being brought to the ground and restrained.
Luo meanwhile called on his supporters not to engage in confrontations with Chou's supporters after conceding the election.
Hand in hand
In Keelung City, Kuomintang Chairman, and Taipei City Mayor, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) accompanied KMT nominee for Keelung City mayorship Hsu Tsai-li (陸]利), who was seeking re-election, to the polling booths.
Ma took Hsu's hand and accompanied Hsu on the walk to the booth amidst hordes of people vying for the KMT Chairman's autograph
However, while attempting to get the Taipei Mayor's signature, one female autograph hunter asked Ma why he had showed up in Keelung when he was not a native of the northern port city.
"You are not a Keelung man," she pointed out. "Why have you come to Keelung?" Ever the wag, Ma responded with a smile, "As I am not a Keelung men, I can't give you my autograph."
But both DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and the DPP candidate for the Keelung City mayoral election, Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄), criticized Ma for setting a bad example by using his presence to influence the poll and increase the KMT nominee's chances of winning.
The Central election Committee, however, decided that Ma's appearnce in Keelung did not violate election regulations that state there should be no campaigning on the day of an election.
Ma, meanwhile, explained that he was just accompanying his friend in the same way he had previously accompanied former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and the former KMT chairman and presidential candidate Lien Chan (連戰) to polling stations during presidential elections, adding that the Republic of China is a free country and people could go anywhere they wanted to go.
Ma also accompanied Chou Hsi-wei and his family on the walk to the polling station in Taipei County later.
For better or worse
Many brides exercised their right to vote before their wedding on election day yesterday.
In Taichung City, a bride-to-be named Chen Hsing-yi, who was going to marry a man from Changhua County, took advantage of her final opportunity to vote as a single woman.
In Yilan County, Chen Wei-lun, niece of DPP nominee for Yilan County magistrate Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) also went to vote before her wedding - naturally in support of uncle.
One disgruntled fifty-something voter in Yilan county tore up his ballot after an election worker refused to give him a new ballot paper.
The man had apparently managed to stain his ballot paper with ink while imprudently folding it.
Upon asking for a new one, and being refused, the irate would-be voter tore up his ballot.
Unfortunately for the hapless individual, his action constituted an offense and he was taken to the police station forthwith.
However nothing further was made of the matter as the man's family told police that he suffered from mental problems and he said he he had no idea that his actions were illegal.
Those who were working on election day yesterday should be compensated with extra pay, the Council of Labor Affairs (勞委會) said yesterday.
The CLA meanwhile also stressed that no one should be hindered from exercising their right to vote because of work.