John just posted a nice piece called “Taiwanese in Bay Area return to island for closely fought presidential election” and I thought I’d follow up with a quick poll.
From my own personal observations, I’ve seen Taiwanese Americans/Canadians/expats travel back to vote every four years since 1996, when the first popular vote held in Taiwan during the 1996 Presidential elections. You have to admit, that must have been very exciting to participate in those first democratic elections. In both 2000 and 2004, both my parents spent several months leading up to the elections in Taiwan, campaigning for Ah-Bian of the DPP, particularly in the Hakka communities. If my father was alive today, I have no doubt he would be in Taiwan campaigning for Frank Hsieh.
According to Wikipedia, in the 2004 ROC Presidential Election an estimated 10,000 Taiwanese Americans traveled to Taiwan to vote in an election in which the margin of victory was 30,000, and both groups campaigned extensively in the United States and held campaign rallies on Taiwan to welcome their voters.
I must admit, it seems like fewer people (in my circles, anyway)were “excited” about this election because prior to recent events in Tibet, KMT candidate Ma Ying-jeou had been leading the polls by a significant margin. For those of us who are pro-independence, this was very discouraging to hear. However, in a very short amount of time, the polls show that Hsieh has been gaining on Ma. This year’s presidential election is just days away, to be held on Saturday, March 22.
Anyway, John mentioned his mother is in Taiwan to vote right now.
My mother is in Taiwan to vote right now.
Do you know anyone who went back to Taiwan specifically to vote this year? Had these people gone back for the 2004/2000/1996 elections, as well?
(PS – I get asked this a lot so I’ll just mention it briefly… no, you cannot vote absentee in Taiwan! You must vote IN PERSON! That is why people travel to vote! Do you think Taiwanese people like disrupting their lives here, traveling when everyone else is traveling, or are just “crazy about voting?” Come to think of it, we should all be so “crazy” about voting…)