Newspaper article China Post

High Court Rules 'Ballot Flashing' Councilors Not Guilty of Divulging Secrets in '10

Newspaper article China Post

High Court Rules 'Ballot Flashing' Councilors Not Guilty of Divulging Secrets in '10

Article excerpt

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TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taiwan High Court ruled city councilors charged in the 2010 New Taipei City council speaker and deputy council speaker "ballot flashing" case not guilty yesterday.

The court said that the act of ballot flashing during a council speaker election cannot be categorized as an act of "divulging secrets" since a councilor's vote is an individual and independent matter that cannot be equated to a secret.

The purpose of anonymous voting is to protect the voter's freedom of choice and not to protect confidential information within the voting group, the High Court added.

The move of "ballot flashing" refers to councilors publicly displaying their ballot in order to show who they have voted for.

In June 2011, the New Taipei Prosecutors office charged 10 city councilors with divulging secrets as they showed off their marked ballots in the speaker and deputy speaker election.

The Taiwan High Court said that "the city council is the venue where the heart of legislative procedures are exercised and councilors have the right to freedom of speech when present."

The prosecutors' actions of collecting evidence without permission from the city council is damaging to the development of democracy, said the High Court. …

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