Want to vote in Taiwan

I just finished voting here in New York today for mayor and an assortment of other offices and initiatives. Did you know that there’s a “Marijuana Reform” party? Guess who got my vote?

Anyways, back to the topic. That got me thinking – I’ve always wanted to vote in Taiwan’s elections. I’ve got an overseas Chinese passport, an ID number (although no physical card), and I believe no hu4 kou3 in Taiwan. What do I need to do to vote? Also, is there a way to do so by absentee ballot? Maybe Hey Christine knows something about this?

IIRC, Taiwan has no absentee ballots. Anyone who wants to vote has to be in Taiwan – and at their assigned polling station, too, not just anywhere.

This makes Taiwan’s voter participation rate all the more impressive. It was well over 80 percent in the last presidential election. People flew back from China, the States, and lots of other places around the world to vote.

BAH,

About a month or so before election day, you should get a card at the address that’s on the back of your ID, the address that is on your hu kou. You need this card in order to vote.

The card will tell you where your local polling station is. Just take this card, your ID, and your chop to the station on election day and -voila- you’ll be able to vote.

If for some reason you don’t receive the card, you’ll have to go to the nearest I forget what they’re called place where they do household registration.

Oops! Just saw this thread! Am a little behind (hi Cranky, hi Jody!).

Addendum to Cranky’s comments, I have heard that the R.O.C. government (party specific?) subsidizes airfare for China Airlines (not sure about Eva) during election time to encourage citizens to fly back to vote.

Personally, though I can vote in Taiwan, I choose not to. I’ve heard arguments both ways and it really is a matter of personal choice, but for me, because I wasn’t born here, did not grow up here, and do not have the intention at this time to stay here permanently (though that’s not to say that I WON’T end up staying here permanently by default), I don’t feel that I have the right to influence the direction of the leadership here in Taiwan.

I probably just opened up a can of worms but, oh well.

That being said, it was funny how some of my local friends and relatives offered to BUY my vote off me.

Jody, you have R.O.C. citizenship, right? Did you vote? What’s you take. Just curious.

Wow, Christine, that was really cool of you. Most people would have voted “just because they could” or on a lark, even though they knew they would be influencing a society they had no intention of living in.

Hmmm… can’t tell if yer being sarcastic But yeah. I tend to hold that policy wherever I go (from state to state in the U.S. too) unless I am certain that I want to establish my roots there or expect to live in a place for an extended period of time where the local laws will impact me directly.

I do think about retiring in Taiwan – lots of my parents’ friends and friends’ parents (lol, that was a funny phrase) have moved back permanently without ever thinking they would – and I can see myself doing that as well, since Taiwan’s social life is unbeatable, but I’m not sure that I will be here from now until then.

So we’ll see!

No, that wasn’t sarcasm, actually. I’m sarcastic so much of the time that most people just assume that just about everything I say is sarcasm; I really should cut down. Or maybe get an irony patch to help me quit.

But anyway, yeah, I think it’s good that you’re sticking to your principles.

When I went to my interview for (U.S.) citizenship, one of the questions the lady asked me was “was is the most important duty of a U.S. citizen?”

I guessed and I got it right – “to exercise the right to vote.”

I guess I disagree with Christine – I think if you live somewhere, even as a transient, you have the right and duty to improve the government, however futile the attempt (my votes to the Marijuana Reform party basically got wasted).

BAH, valid statement.

Some also used a more personal approach and argued that I shouldn’t view my life here (or anywhere else) as “transcient” and therefore have the responsibility to vote (oh boy, I knew this was going to happen, lol).

The argument was that for as long as I THINK I am transcient, unrooted if you will, a lot of my decisions will be based on the temporary (fear of committing to a company, apartment, friendships, relationships, etc.) and that I’d never allow myself to live “fully” in the present.

I didn’t feel it was right of me to influence local politics if mentally I wasn’t committed to the area. That to me is being responsible. But the case can be argued both ways.

As I said, voting really is a personal choice for each individual, imho of course. The beauty of it all is that we HAVE that choice. But sometimes I have to wonder if that choice should be ours to have WITHOUT some minimal understanding of the political system and party lines.

I take issue with the blanket statement that people SHOULD vote just because they have the right. For example, I was deeply troubled (back in the U.S.) knowing that so many people who DID vote didn’t really understand party platform and only used the criteria, “Do I like him or her?”

Remember the days during the Clinton campaign when a significant number of women voted for Clinton because they thought he was “hot”? I believe it was even used as a campaign strategy to target women at one point.

To me, not voting responsibly is better than voting irresponsibly. Oh boy. I just opened up that can of worms even more.

Christine, I completely agree with you. If you can’t vote responsibly it’s best not to vote. However, I also feel that if you have the right to vote, it’s an obligation to educate yourself enough so that you CAN vote responsibly. For some people this may mean simply voting along the party line, for others it may mean more in-depth analysis of each position and candidate. If you enjoy the rights of citizenship, you should also assume some of the responsibilities.

I wholly agree with Jeff’s comments. Obviously many overseas Chinese who have come back to Taiwan and obtained ROC citizenship still feel a bit of a language barrier and a cultural barrier between themselves and the local society. However, in most cases these overseas Chinese are educated and intelligent people.

On the other hand, there are many local ROC citizens who do vote in the local elections who are neither educated nor intelligent. In fact, some of them are even illiterate in their own language (Chinese).

Continuting upon this line of thought, I believe that all educated and intelligent citizens have not only the right but also the responsibility to vote.

Extra Considerations: As far as whether or not one was brought up here, or is planning to continue to live here, or speaks a foreign language (English) most of the time, or maintains many ties to other countries, etc., etc., those considerations are pure nonsense. There is no other way to describe them.

I say this because the rights and duties of citizens are clearly defined in the ROC Constitution and other relevant laws. There is no basis for a distinction of citizenship rights or duties based on any of these “extra considerations” in any relevant statutes.

Very true Jeff, Richard. And very well said too. Thanks for the insightful reminder.

Has anyone been able to find out if “absentee ballots” will be allowed for the Legislative Elections at the end of 2004?

This is a very American way to talk about voting. It is not at all clear to me what kind of information a voter would need to know to be ‘informed’. Under different political and social conditions voting needs to reflect the different demands placed on citizen’s lives. Voters in Taiwan don’t vote along class lines because political parties don’t reflect class interests. Almost all voters are informed about the ethnicity of candidates and where they stand on ethnic issues, and they are informed about these issues because the structure of the electoral system and political parties makes this the prime issue in any election here.

[quote=“jl2000”]BAH,

About a month or so before election day, you should get a card at the address that’s on the back of your ID, the address that is on your hu kou. You need this card in order to vote.

The card will tell you where your local polling station is. Just take this card, your ID, and your chop to the station on election day and -voila- you’ll be able to vote.

If for some reason you don’t receive the card, you’ll have to go to the nearest I forget what they’re called place where they do household registration.[/quote]

You must have been physically resident or your household rgistrations must show that you’ve been registered for 6 months prior to voting. So jumpin on a plane back to Taiwan will get you ZERO voting rights