To encourage young people to vote in the nine-in-one elections today, the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy (TYAD) and 50 college student associations have booked 60 shuttle buses to ferry voters home, with the buses setting off from Taipei yesterday afternoon.
The groups raised nearly NT$900,000 to fund their “democratic homecoming shuttle service” for young people, through which 2,500 people aged 18 to 35 could buy discounted bus tickets to return home.
The claim that young Taiwanese do not care about politics is not true, as many who have moved to big cities are so exhausted by work and the high cost of living that they do not have the time to return home to vote, TYAD member and project leader Chang Yu-meng (張育萌) said.
Despite this, many young people have bravely stood to defend the nation’s democracy by running in the local elections or promoting the 10 referendums that are being held alongside the elections, demonstrating their idealism and passion to challenge unjust things through political action, Chang said.
As the voting age for referendums has been lowered to 18 after amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) took effect in January, young people should vote on all issues that affect the nation’s future, TYAD said.
Many first-time voters expressed their excitement about being able to practice their civil rights.
A 20-year-old National Taiwan Normal University student surnamed Chen (陳) said he would elect his ideal mayor and councilors and express his opinions about each referendum by voting for the first time.
National Chengchi University sophomore student Huang Meng-han (黃孟涵), a psychology major, said she would leave Taipei for her hometown in Yunlin County’s Douliu City (斗六) to vote in the elections for the first time.
A National Chengchi University economics student surnamed Liao (廖) and a Soochow University accounting student Wei Yun-feng (魏云楓) said that they care more about the referendums related to marriage equality.
Everyone should have the right to get married, Wei said, adding that she is concerned about the Kaohsiung mayoral election, too.
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