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Nago Assembly election rift headed to high court

Date Posted: 2007-07-11

An incumbent Nago City assemblyman, managed to retain his seat by beating his opponent, Takuma Higashionna, by one vote in the last assembly election last September.
Zentetsu Teruya’s victory was short lived, upended by an Election Board decision. When the Election Board inspected the ballots, they discovered one for Teruya with a small line drawn on it. As ballots may not contain anything except the candidates name, the board ruled the ballot invalid, making Teruya’s and Higashionna’s vote counts even. By law, in cases where two candidates get the same number of votes, the seat is decided by a drawing.
Teruya, however, suspected someone on the board who was opposing him or his party had tampered with the ballot, and filed a lawsuit.
The Naha District Court handed down its ruling Monday, declaring the ballot void on the grounds that there was a clear marking on the ballot that did not belong there. The ruling means the assemblyman seat would go to a drawing.
Angry after hearing the verdict, Teruya claimed “It is impossible to believe that some voter would draw anything else on the ballot that the candidates name. It must have been tampered with, and the most likely culprit is someone on the Election Board.”
He refused to accept the verdict and said he would appeal immediately to a higher court.

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