A long line of voters on Sunday waited outside a polling station near Taipei Railway Station as absentee voting began three days before Indonesia’s general election.
Indonesians in Taiwan on Sunday could vote for their next president, vice president and members of the People’s Consultative Assembly, from 8am to 6pm at 34 polling stations nationwide.
Outside the polling station in front of an Indonesian grocery store on Beiping W Road, close to Taipei Railway Station, there was a 100m line of voters waiting when the station opened, a restaurant worker said.
Mariana Gultom, a member of staff at the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office to Taipei (IETO) who was in charge of the polling station, said the number of voters was higher than expected.
She said a letter from the IETO on March 10 to Taiwanese who employ Indonesian workers, helped more Indonesians receive a day off to vote.
Ika, a caregiver from Changhua County, said that although it took her more than an hour to cast her vote, she was happy to do so because she had the chance to gather with fellow Indonesians.
Suparniyah, who was voting in Taiwan for the second time, said that there were fewer voters during the last election five years ago because voting was not scheduled for a Sunday, when Indonesian employees are usually given a day off.
Dozens of Indonesian caregivers were also seen taking their charges to the station in wheelchairs.
Most of those waiting to vote were women, reflecting the fact that as of the end of February almost 75 percent of Indonesian migrant workers in Taiwan were female, according to Ministry of Labor data.
Aside from postal voting and voting at the 34 polling stations, the IETO also set up four polling stations at the harbors in Keelung, Yilan, Pingtung and Taitung to allow Indonesian fishers to vote, Gultom said.
Indonesians who are 17 years old and above are eligible to vote in the election, including those who reside overseas.
To encourage Indonesians living overseas to vote, Indonesia has set up offices in 130 nations.
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