Two voters showed up to a county election in China. So officials decided to cast the ballots themselves
- Four cadres – including elected candidate – punished over 2017 poll in Henan province after party graft-buster found they had cast more than 800 votes
On county election day at a village in central China, officials were faced with an awkward problem: almost no one showed up to vote.
So in a bid to at least give the appearance of an election, four officials in Beiping village decided to take matters into their own hands – by filling out the ballot papers themselves.
Their election fraud has been uncovered in an investigation by the ruling Communist Party’s anti-corruption watchdog in Henan province, its official newspaper reported on Thursday.
In China, county-level members of the People’s Congress are among the only positions of public office directly elected by ordinary voters. But even those elections are tightly controlled and are often, if not always, won by candidates nominated or endorsed by the authorities. The national legislature is elected by members of the provincial bodies, who in turn are elected by those at the prefecture level.
After the 2017 election in Mianchi county, Beiping villagers reported the case to the local Discipline Inspection and Supervision Commission, since most of them had not voted. The county graft-buster then launched an investigation.
Four officials – including Huang Yuqing, who won the poll in Beiping – were found to have filled out more than 800 ballots on voting day, according to the Discipline Inspection and Supervision Daily report.
In fact, only two of the 663 villagers in Beiping were found to have actually voted in the election.
In addition, the investigation found that the Beiping officials had failed to notify most of the villagers of the election and did not hand out ballot papers, according to the report.
It said that during the investigation, village head Yang Liyu was asked: “How many villagers actually showed up and how many ballot papers were filled out?”
Yang, who was responsible for organising the election, reportedly replied: “Some of the voters did not show up.”
He admitted to filling out ballots himself after he was shown evidence of the vote-rigging.
Yang told investigators that after only two villagers came to vote, the four cadres decided to cast the votes themselves instead of going door-to-door with the ballot papers.
Three of the officials – election winner Huang Yuqing, along with Huang Ziwei and Huang Quanqun – were given internal disciplinary punishments. Yang, the village head, was expelled from the party after the investigation uncovered other wrongdoings. Huang Yuqing was also placed on probation within the party and resigned as a member of the Mianchi county People’s Congress.