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In a vacuum, I’d simply advise Huang to ignore the anti-gay marriage groups behind the recall effort

In a vacuum, I’d simply advise Huang to ignore the anti-gay marriage groups behind the recall effort

The Central Election Commission has announced the date – December 16 – for the vote to recall New Power Party legislator Huang Kuo-chang ???, which gives me a convenient opportunity to rant about how stupid the new law is.

Recall that after the Sunflower movement, activists tried to recall several KMT legislators, including Chang Ching-chung ???, Wu Yu-sheng ???, Alex Tsai ???, and Lin Hung-chih ???. All of these efforts failed, and activists believed that the requirements for recall were unreasonably stringent. (The effort may have had some effect. None of the targeted legislators won re-election in 2016.)

When the NPP entered the legislature, one of its first goals was to revise the election law to make recall easier. Strangely, neither of the two big parties put up much resistance, and the revision was passed last December. I’ll steal this table from a UDN article summarizing the main changes:

Let’s focus on those last two rows, since they are the most important. Previously, 50% turnout was required to pass a recall. This made it nearly impossible to pass a recall. The legislator could simply advise supporters to ignore the vote and stay at home. That meant that the opposition had to supply 50% of all eligible voters. In normal conditions and in normal districts, this was nearly impossible.

In particular, there are four city councilors who would love to have Huang’s seat

Huang’s district, New Taipei 12, had 251,191 eligible voters in 2016. (It’s probably a few thousand more now since Xizhi is a fast-growing area, but for the sake of simplicity I will ignore that.) This means that to recall Huang under the old law, opponents would have had to mobilize 125,596 votes.