Some municipality/county/city councilors revealed their votes for council speaker and deputy speaker. According to the Rules for Organization of the Councils of Cities and Counties under Taiwan Province (repealed), councilors should vote for council speakers and deputy speakers by secret ballot; that is, councilors should write their choices for council speakers and deputy speakers without revealing their votes to anyone. In the past, the court usually ruled that when secret ballot was adopted, what was written by voters should be kept in confidence and be deemed relating to national affairs; thus, if, when casting his/her ballot, a councilor intentionally showed his/her choice written on his/her ballot to another, the councilor should be deemed deliberately disclosing secrets relating to matters other than national defense and violating Paragraph 1, Article 132 of the Criminal Code. (The 1985 2nd Meeting of Chief Judges of the Taiwan High Court; conclusions of the Law Seminar held by the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office in March 1990; and Supreme Court Judgment Nos. 92-Tai-Shang-535, 90-Tai-Shang-2167 and 85-Tai-Shang-3252)
Recently, some courts held different views on this issue, finding that revealing ballots did not constitute disclosure of secrets. Those courts found that when writing their choices on their votes for council speakers or deputy speakers, municipality/city/county councilors were exercising their right to vote by secret ballot (without signing their names on the ballot), and the secrets produced from their exercise of such voting rights were by no means secrets produced by the nation for political or public affairs ("government secrets"). In those courts' opinion, whether councilors had revealed their choices written on their ballots in election of council speakers or deputy speakers had no impact on the result of the election, nor are they relevant to any political or public affair of the nation. Those councilors' choices of council speakers or deputy speakers, or their choice to cast spoilt votes represented their personal political intention and ideology and the free exercise of their voting rights, which concern matters different from the powers and duties of the elected speakers or deputy speakers. If such councilors' choices were treated as government secrets, those councilors then could not reveal their ballots when casting their votes, nor could they reveal their choices to their family members, friends or other members of their political parties; otherwise, they would be found committing an offense of disclosing secrets relating to matters other than national defense in their capacity as public officials. These courts find such treatment unreasonably severe. (Supreme Court Judgment Nos. 104-Tai-Fei-222, 104-Tai-Fei-217, and 104-Tai-Fei-216; Taiwan High Court Judgment No. 103-Shang-Yi-1735)
With respect to the dispute between the courts and the prosecutors over ballot disclosure, the Supreme Court resolved on 1 September 2015, that councilors' revealing their ballots before putting the ballots in the ballot box should constitute no offense of disclosing secrets relating to matters other than national defense under Paragraph 1, Article 132 of the Criminal Code, citing the reasons given in some recent Supreme Court and High Court judgments and Paragraph 2 of Article 59 and Article 91 of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act, Paragraph 2 of Article 63 and Article 105 of the Civil Servants Election And Recall Act, and Paragraph 2 of Article 22 and Article 49 of the Referendum Act.Those cited provisions all prescribe punishments for voters' disclosure of ballots. However, neither the provisions governing interference with voting in the Criminal Act or any other prevailing laws impose criminal punishments on municipality/city/county councilors' disclosure of their ballots in election of council speakers or deputy speakers. Thus, according to the principle of no punishment without a law, councilors' disclosure of ballots in election of council speakers or deputy speakers should not be interpreted as disclosure of secrets relating to matters other than national defense or be subject to punishment. Moreover, the secret ballot under Article 129 of the Constitution and the fore part of Paragraph 1, Article 44 of the Local Government Act is to ensure fairness of the election procedure and the accuracy of the election result so as to protect councilors' right to freely vote and vote by secret ballot rather than obligate them to keep their ballots secret. If voters voluntarily, publicly reveal their choices in the ballots to others before putting them in the ballot box, those voters should be deemed voluntarily waiving their freedom to vote by secret ballot. Revelation of ballots other than ballot revelation punishable under the Criminal Code should not be deemed disclosure of secrets or punishable. Moreover, municipality/city/county councilors should be politically responsible for their respective electorate or political party. Their deliberate revelation of ballots was probably to demonstrate their acceptance of their electorate's scrutiny and was required by their political party rather than have any connection with vote buying or political violence. Despite the controversy over the legitimacy of councilors' revelation of ballots, such acts may be governed by the internal rules of individual councils rather than be subject to judicial punishments before they are prescribed in the Criminal Code.