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38 Days Until Kinmen’s First Referendum

38 Days Until Kinmen’s First Referendum
Reporter: Yang Shuei-Yong/Summary Report

The first ever referendum in Kinmen has entered its countdown stage, with only 38 days to go from today! The content of the first motion of Kinmen County Referendum is: "To revitalize Kinmen’s economy and forge the path ahead, do you agree to set up an international holiday resort and accept the opening of 5% of the area for gambling tourism?" Two opinion sessions by the County Government and the Police Bureau, and two supportive/opposing statement sessions on gambling tourism were organized on Saturday and Sunday last week; on this weekend there will be three supportive/opposing statement sessions held in Jinsha, Jinning, and Lieyu; and on the 25th and the 26th, three opinion sessions by the County Government and the Police Bureau will be held across the sea in Taiwan, to provide relevant information on the referendum on gambling tourism to citizens inside and outside Kinmen Island. Also, citizens are encouraged to vote on October 28th, casting their sacred and valuable ballots to decide the best development for Kinmen’s future.
Should Kinmen open its doors to gambling tourism? In the past few years, following the referendums on gambling tourism held in Penghu and Matsu, the issue has caused a stir in Kinmen and generated enthusiastic discussion. There were both supportive and opposing opinions and positions towards gambling; yet no practical action was taken for a plebiscite. This time, a motion was proposed for the Kinmen County Referendum. From its countersigning up to now, it has drawn substantial concern and discussion among people from all walks of life. With regard to whether Kinmen should open its door to gambling tourism, both supportive and opposing statements and opinions exist at the moment. It depends on the public to make the most correct and best choice for Kinmen with their sharp mind and wisdom.
This referendum on gambling tourism exercise will have a profound influence on the future development of Kinmen Island, and is also the first occasion in which more than 100,000 county citizens will participate. Different from large or small elections in the past, it decides whether Kinmen will embrace and develop gambling tourism in the future, with huge implications for all aspects of Kinmen’s society and economy. To enable county citizens to understand the related information so that they can make the best choice for Kinmen’s development wisely and correctly, the County Government therefore referred to the Penghu County model for organizing referendum workshops on gambling tourism in 2016, allowing a maximum of three representatives from both the supporting and opposing sides, to provide all county citizens a platform to understand related information on the subject. The initiative requires attention from all citizens in Kinmen, especially with its implications to Kinmen’s future.
Following the opinion sessions by the County Government and the Police Bureau, and the supportive/opposing statement sessions on the first motion of the referendum, the Kinmen County Election Commission will hold a referendum TV conference for opinions on October 18th, ten days from Kinmen’s first referendum, to allow the supporting and opposing camps to state their opinions or debate. Scheduled from 10am to 12pm on the day, the TV conference will be held at the Multimedia Briefing Room of the Kinmen County Hall and broadcast live. It will also be recorded and replayed every day till 10 pm from the following day until October 27th on Channel 33 of the local Ming Cheng Cable TV Station.
Regardless of the number of campaign offices applying to set up, the TV referendum conference identifies the supporting side as those supporting the first motion, and the opposing side as those against the motion; after negotiation, each side will recommend three speakers to state their opinions; each speaker is allowed up to ten minutes to make his statement. It is worth mentioning that this is the first ever referendum in Kinmen; A sign language interpreter will be arranged for the TV conference to help hearing-impaired citizens to understand both supporting and opposing views on gambling tourism so as to safeguard their rights and interests. During the opinion session, representatives of both sides are forbidden to carry any dangerous items or behave in any way that violates public order or common decency.
To ensure the successful completion of the unprecedented referendum in Kinmen, the County Election Commission will hold five training sessions for the polling station staff at the Performance Hall of the Social Welfare Center and the Multimedia Briefing Room of the Lieyu Township Office, from September 26th to 29th, and from October 2nd to 3rd, respectively. Wuqiu Township will schedule its own training dates and sessions by its electoral office. These training sessions are expected to enable all polling station staff to be familiar with the referendum process, the electoral regulations and polling practices, and help them understand their own responsibilities and the working methods and operating procedures, so as to truly reach the goal of fairness and legitimacy, improve operational efficiency of the polling stations, and successfully fulfill the mission.
As the referendum voting day is approaching, to ensure safe printing, distribution and storage of the referendum ballots, the Election Commission stipulated a notice regarding the ballots’ printing, distribution and storage, in accordance with Article 17 of the Central Election Commission’s Operating Guidelines for the Printing, Distribution and Storage of Voting Ballots in Public Officials Elections and in consideration of the actual needs of the Election Commission. The printing of referendum ballots will be completed by October 21st; the ballots will be colored white; counting and collection will be completed one day before the voting day. As there is no direct transport to Wuqiu Township, it is scheduled to apply for helicopter support from the National Airborne Service Corps on October 24th to deliver ballots to Wuqiu, thus ensuring simultaneous polls in Wuqiu and the main Kinmen Island and exercising the rights of referendum for the first time.
The voting on the first motion of Kinmen County Referendum is scheduled on (Saturday) October 28th, from 8am to 4pm; the qualifications of rightful voters are: any resident of Kinmen County who has reached 20 years of age, that is, who was born on or before October 28th, 1997; who is not subject to a guardianship order that has not been cancelled; and who has lived continuously in the electoral district for over six months, that is, who moved in and registered his address on or before April 28th, 2017 and continuously lived there until October 27th, 2017.Those who meet these conditions have the right to vote on the first motion of Kinmen County Referendum. Fellow countrymen are invited to cast their invaluable votes at the polling stations on the polling day, using their most precious ballots to create a promising future for Kinmen!

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  • Date:2017-12-12