Stories of Vote Buying Surface

OTV has received countless stories on potential vote buying across Palau.  While these stories are unconfirmed, ask the number of complaints has prompted the question of what exactly is vote buying?

Supporters in each of the Presidential campaign camps have accused the other camp of employing vote buying tactics, purchase but voter stories are blurring the lines between campaigning and vote buying.
Palau law, hospital under 23 PNC Section 1006, makes bribing or attempting to bribe “any voter in giving his vote, or to deter him from giving it” a criminal offense punishable by not more that $1000.00 and/or imprisonment of not more than one year.   Further, the law provides that each “intimidation, threat, or bribe” shall be treated as a separate offense.   To date, there is not a single published case on vote-buying reflecting that this statute has never been used.

No Cellphones Camera Sign
No Camera Sign Outside Palau Voting Station

OTV’s report was first prompted by the new “no cell phones rule” instituted by the Palau Election Commission in which voters phones were confiscated before entering the voting booths.  OTV has confirmed that the Palau Election Commission received complaints regarding the possibility of using cell phones to prove who the voter had selected  in the election booth.  Multiple sources have identified Diaz as the source of the discussion on his radio/television show which may have prompted the initial complaints to the election commission.  When President Toribiong learned of these accusations, he was outraged and adamantly denied ever asking anyone to bribe a voter on his behalf.
OTV has directly received unconfirmed stories as follows:
Campaign representatives approaching senior voters with envelopes containing $500.  Upon acceptance of the money the senior family members are then supposed to encourage children and grandchildren to vote accordingly.
New campaign compounds are also appearing around Palau with an endless flow of food and drinks being made available to potential voters.  One voter stated that alcohol was also being freely given away with no attention to age.
One source told OTV that the young voters in his village were told by a candidate to come up with an activity like a rock island tour and it would be paid for.
Other unconfirmed reports include voters from the North of Babeldoab receiving free gas at Koror stations, while some Senatorial candidates have been driving through villages giving away fish.
OTV is continuing to update this story as details emerge.