The National Students’ Union of Taiwan (NSUT) yesterday launched an online mock election for students ahead of the Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections.
The mock election was co-organized by groups including the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy and the Taiwan Alliance for Advancement of Youth Rights and Welfare, as well as 35 university student unions, said the union, which was founded in April.
Online voting was scheduled to open to holders of student identification cards from senior-high schools, vocational high schools and universities at 8:20pm last night, it said.
Photo courtesy of the National Students’ Union of Taiwan
Students would be able to vote for a presidential candidate and a political party through a messenger chatbot linked to the union’s and the alliance’s Facebook pages, it added.
Online voting is to close at 8:20pm on Sunday, and the results are to be announced at 10am on Monday, it said.
Earlier this month, organizers sent out multiple-choice questionnaires to all presidential and legislative candidates, as well as political parties, union president Tan Ko-him (陳佑維) said.
The survey asked their stance on 10 topics, including a proposal to lower the minimum voting age to 18, marriage equality and labor policy, he said, adding that responses would be posted online.
Students without voting rights or who cannot return to the places where they are registered to vote make up less than 30 percent of Taiwan’s voting age population, Tan said.
However, they are to bear “100 percent of the future fate of Taiwan,” he added.
Historically, the turnout among young voters has always been relatively low, association secretary-general Alvin Chang (張育萌) said.
Statistics show that the voter turnout among 20-to-35-year-olds in the elections held between 2008 and 2016 was about 50 to 60 percent, while turnout among voters aged 65 and older is about 80 to 90 percent, he said.
Chang cited a higher overlap between the legal and actual residences of middle-aged and older voters as a reason for their higher turnout.
Taiwan’s electoral system is “unfair to young people,” he said, adding that many young voters are unable to travel back to their hometowns during elections because of financial constraints.
About 1.18 million people would be able to vote for the first time next month, he said, citing Central Election Commission data.
“Can 1.18 million voters sway the results of an election? I believe we all have an answer in our hearts,” he added.
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