TAIPEI — Thirty-year-old Lai Hsiu-man drew public attention yesterday when she showed up at a polling station in Taichung, central Taiwan, wearing her wedding gown. Casting her ballots on her wedding day created an “unforgettable” memory, she said. Lai and her groom, Ou Yu-ching, arrived at the polling station accompanied by their families immediately after their wedding ceremony. “I wanted to have a good memory of our marriage day,” she said, explaining why they chose Election Day to tie the knot. Saturday was the day Taiwanese people elected a new president and legislature. More than 18 million citizens were eligible to vote and the turnout was estimated to have reached 80 percent amid frenzied competition. Many centenarians, accompanied by their grandchildren, came to polling stations to cast their ballots. In Miaoli, 104-year-old Sun Tien-fu said he had never missed an election in Taiwan. Born in 1908, Sun said that all the candidates he has favored have ended up getting elected. Centenarian voters were also visible in Tainan, Yilan and Hsinchu, with 112-year-old Sun Chiang-huai from Tainan suggesting that everyone should value the chance to vote because democracy in Taiwan did not come easy. Others voters, however, did not share his view, with some facing fines for publicly tearing up their ballots. One voter in the Linkou District of New Taipei City did so, complaining that there were no candidates he was prepared to vote for. Similar incidents were also reported in other districts of the city, as well as in the cities of Kaohsiung and Taichung, election affairs officials said. According to the Central Election Commission, the act of tearing up ballot papers violates election regulations and offenders are subject to fines ranging between NT$5,000 (US$166.8) and NT$50,000.
Across the country, 27 people were being investigated for tearing up ballots or taking their cellphones into the polling stations or soliciting votes outside the polling stations.