Mon, Jan 09, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan’s youth urged to vote

SACRED VOW:Participants in a mock wedding vowed to vote out of patriotic love. It was staged by a group trying to increase the low turnout rate among young voters

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff Reporter

First Time Voters — a group comprised of university and graduate students concerned about political and social issues — called on their fellow students to return home and cast their ballots on Saturday by staging a mock wedding yesterday.

To the music of Felix Mendelsohn’s Wedding March, a “bride” and “groom” walked slowly toward a “priest,” who asked the couple: “Will you cast your sacred ballots for the country that you love?”

Both answered with a firm “yes.”

The “groom” was Hsu Yen-ming (許燕銘), a senior at National Central University, and the “bride” was Hsu Yi-ting (徐意婷), a junior at the university.

“We’ve chosen to hold a mock wedding because we think that choosing the ideal candidate and casting a vote is just like choosing an ideal spouse and getting married,” said Hsu Chiao-hsin (徐巧芯), the spokeswoman for the event and a senior majoring in political science at National Chengchi University. “No matter whether you support the pan-blue camp, the pan-green camp or the orange camp, if you love this country, you should vote.”

The “orange camp” refers to the People First Party.

“Voter turnout for young voters has been low in the past. It was only about 50 percent in the 2008 presidential election, and could be lower this time because the elections take place during the final exam week for most college students, and because the Lunar New Year holiday is only a week after the elections,” said Chen Yi-chi (陳乙棋), chairperson of The First Time Voters and a political science major at National Taiwan University.

“According to our own survey, at least 17 percent of first-time -voters said they would not vote this time,” Chen said.

However, as young Taiwanese face many challenges, such as growing unemployment, declining wages and soaring housing prices, “if we don’t speak out now, politicians will continue to overlook our needs,” Chen said.

A native of Pingtung County, Chen said he would definitely go home to vote, even though he was preparing for entrance exams for graduate school, and it would take him eight hours to travel back and forth.

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