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83% Voter Turnout in Taiwan

By nascent in News
Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 10:01:34 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)

[editor's note, by rusty] Interesting story... bad writeup. This has been heavily edited by the mgmt.
A quote from CNN on Taiwan's Presidential elections: "Chen captured 39 percent of the vote and Soong got 37 percent. An estimated 83 percent of Taiwan's 15 million eligible voters cast ballots." Anyone have any thoughts on why 83 percent of Taiwanese voters are hitting the polls, when turnout has been abysmally low in the US for some time?


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83% Voter Turnout in Taiwan | 26 comments (26 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Where's the tech in this?... (1.00 / 1) (#4)
by mr. creep on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 10:14:03 PM EST

mr. creep voted -1 on this story.

Where's the tech in this?
brian - geeknik.net

We take democracy for granted... BT... (none / 0) (#1)
by rongen on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 10:19:57 PM EST

rongen voted 0 on this story.

We take democracy for granted... BTW, this post could use a title! :)
read/write http://www.prosebush.com

"I don't care. (0)" ... (2.00 / 1) (#9)
by HiRes on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 12:05:45 AM EST

HiRes voted 0 on this story.

"I don't care. (0)"

Perhaps this is related to voter apathy in the US...?
wait! before you rate, read.

The utter apathy of the US voter in... (none / 0) (#7)
by pwhysall on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 03:34:57 AM EST

pwhysall voted 1 on this story.

The utter apathy of the US voter in the late 20th/early 21st century is worthy of discussion, methinks.
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.

Well for the same reason that 85% o... (none / 0) (#2)
by asad on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 12:17:35 PM EST

asad voted 1 on this story.

Well for the same reason that 85% of Iranians turned out to vote in the recent elections. Because it affects your day to day life. How much of an effect does voting in the US have on your daily life ? How much do you care about the issues that the candidates talk about ?

It appears that they are all voting... (none / 0) (#5)
by shepd on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 03:37:33 PM EST

shepd voted 1 on this story.

It appears that they are all voting because they want Taiwan to be independant from China (Chen's platform is independance).

Because we don't have a Communist w... (none / 0) (#3)
by perplexed on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 07:13:06 PM EST

perplexed voted 1 on this story.

Because we don't have a Communist world superpower like China breathing down our necks. When China says, "We'll invade you if your politicians keep talking about independence", then I think it motivates people to get involved with government.

Who cares?... (4.00 / 2) (#6)
by Anonymous Coward on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 08:55:54 PM EST

Anonymous Coward voted -1 on this story.

Who cares?

Short or long list? (none / 0) (#11)
by Inoshiro on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 10:15:26 PM EST

Short list:
Anyone who uses any components produced there: RAM, CPUs, motherboards, etc. They hold a near monopoly on these, and the RAM producers have recently begun to try to control ram pricing in the same way that the OPEC [curse word] people have begun mucking about with gasoline prices.

Long list:
[Insert millions of names of computer users, and people who rely on them indirectly, here].

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Re: Short or long list? (none / 0) (#13)
by ramses0 on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 10:48:16 PM EST

This is a very good point.

While I heartily disagree with the U.S. mucking around in other people's businesses, when two nations have such a reliance on one producing and the other consuming, it is important to pay attention.

Thanks for pointing this out, Inoshiro

[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Re: Short or long list? (none / 0) (#16)
by rongen on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 06:16:13 AM EST

Anyone who uses any components produced there

Now here is an aspect of this issue I haven't considered yet. I knew that this was the case, and always think of this place as a technologicaly advanced economy but I never really put two-and-two together. The last thing we need is a another OPEC (RPEC?).

Still, all things being equal, nations that are new to the voting thing seem to have a much higher turnout at the polls. I am Canadian, but we are inundated by American news media here. It doesn't seem to matter who you talk to in the States, everybody has an opinion, yet the voting turnout is so low it is almost criminal.

I lived in So. Cal. for a few months, and saw a lot of people there who probably don't really feel "in the loop". In fact I am willing to bet that most of the people I worked with there (I worked in a hotel) didn't vote, or even think about politics. Why do I say this? They didn't even consider themselves to be American! California was a place they had come to make some money, it had very little to do with "American political policy" and everything to do with "American economic oppourtunity".

Personally, I am okay with that. Live and let live. But I can't help wondering about this a little. If the American electoral process was a little more straight-forward and made people feel more involved maybe more people would vote. If you watch the news it becomes pretty clear that presidential canidates (for example) are backed by some heavy coporate contributions (and in some cases this money isn't even American in origin). How does this make the average Joe feel about the electoral process... This post has been a bona-fide Rongen's Rant[tm].
read/write http://www.prosebush.com
[ Parent ]

probably something to do with taiwa... (none / 0) (#10)
by KTB on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 09:36:16 PM EST

KTB voted 1 on this story.

probably something to do with taiwan gaining independence from china, i'd think.. but i don't know, love to find out.. :)
Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.
-- Charles William Dement

i saw something about this on the n... (2.50 / 2) (#8)
by bse on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 10:01:34 PM EST

bse voted 1 on this story.

i saw something about this on the news earlier today. it really brought to light how much we depend on them. as over two thirds of the world's "silicon" is produced there; and if they become even more a democratic state away from china, they would have more control over geeks like us and our need for silicon. just my 2bits.

"Please sir, tell me why, my life's so pitiful, but the future's so bright? When I look ahead, it burns my retinas." -- Pitchshifter - Please Sir

Re: 83% Voter Turnout in Taiwan (none / 0) (#12)
by nebular on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 10:35:46 PM EST

I figure Americans don't vote is because they like to complain about the crap that their government dishes at them and don't want to take the blame for putting that government in power in the first place. "Don't blame me, I didn't vote for that idiot." "Who did you vote for?" On another note, This is my first comment on Kuro5hin and a noticed the anonymous post name is Anonymous Hero. Now COME ON! I know this is supposed to be an alternative to that other news site but does it it have to be so blatently ripped off? Have some creativity. Subtly has it's virtues

Re: 83% Voter Turnout in Taiwan (none / 0) (#17)
by rusty on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 08:00:13 AM EST

> This is my first comment on Kuro5hin and a noticed the anonymous post name is Anonymous Hero.

As it says in The FAQ, I borrowed many interface ideas from slashdot. So of course everyone comes here with certain preconceived ideas about how things work. "Anonymous Hero" is really more of an in-joke for ex-slashdotters than anything else. And a social experiment. I wondered if people would behave better if you called them "Hero" instead of "Coward." Subtlety does have it's virtues, but so does humor. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Hey, don't blame me. (none / 0) (#21)
by marlowe on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 01:21:17 PM EST

I voted for the other idiot. --- I will insist on my right to question ---
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Why I Posted This.... (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by nascent on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 11:08:33 PM EST

BTW, I posted this here because this isn't Slashdot. It's not tech, I realize, but clearly it affects both the tech and the techies.


Re: Why I Posted This.... (none / 0) (#25)
by rongen on Wed Mar 22, 2000 at 08:57:54 AM EST

Judging from all the discussion, it was a good thing to post! At any rate I am following this discussion with interest. Politics affects all of us. We may not have much control (real or imagined) but thats partly our fault. If people who "don't vote" would just go in and spoil that ballot, instead of staying home, or whatever, it would send a strong message to government that the voters were did not believe ANY of the canidates represented them properly... not just that the voters were apathetic stay-at-homes.

The big money would pick up on this as well. Sure companies like to have governments in there that will synchophantically obey thier every whim. But there are other people (Perot, for example) who have money and a desire to get someone in government who will actually do something for the economy of the country (and the people) not just for the banks and large corporations. And special interest groups. And foreign interests.

I am posting this as a Canadian who is aware of the global clout of America (eh).
read/write http://www.prosebush.com
[ Parent ]

Re: 100% Voter Turnout in Australia (none / 0) (#15)
by Enthrad on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 03:54:09 AM EST

We are forced by law to turn up at elections (though they can't make us actually fill out a ballot) in Australia.

Re: 83% Voter Turnout in Taiwan (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by mdxi on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 10:24:39 AM EST

Here's why 83% of hte Taiwanese electorate voted:

In 1949 Mao Tse Tung led a revolution in China, the end result of which was the
complete overthrow and ouster of the traditional government (the last Chinese
dynasty, whose name escapes me at this moment).

The traditional government went into exile on the island of Taiwan, forming the
country we know today, and the geopolitical situation between these two peoples
is very unclear. I mean, would you call Taiwan a breakaway province or the
rightful government of mainland China or a separate country altogether?

To say relations between mainland China and Taiwan are strained would be
putting things very lightly indeed. "Raw seething hatred" would be a better was
to say it. I have a Taiwanese friend who is extremely intelligent and
mild-mannered...except when Chinese are involved. I don't think I've ever seen
anyone harbor as much ill will towards a group as she has for the Chinese. To
the Taiwanese, the Chinese are an angry mob who kicked them out of their own
country and continues to threaten their way of life. To the Chinese, the
Taiwanese are the last remnants of a gang of thugs who lorded over the populace
for 5 millennia.

On top of this historic antipathy, China has been sabre rattling for the past
several years. During Taiwan's previous election in 1996 they test-fired a
missle in the China Sea, lobbing it over the island of Taiwan. This year, the
mainland government stated on several occasions that they would invade Taiwan
if they voted so formally seceed from China.

I hope this helps explain things and that I didn't bore you too terribly.

Low turnout is good (none / 0) (#19)
by error 404 on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 11:01:19 AM EST

Those of us who follow the election and give a damn get more representation. I
don't see that as a problem.

Low turnout reduces the power of the party establishment. With reliable high
turnout, each party could choose candidates that are repugnant to the majority
of the electorate, secure in the knowledge that their rank and file members
would vote anyway.

But as it is, the outcome of most elections hinges on turnout, not the size of
the party membership. The swing voters - independants and crossovers - have
some effect, but the big deciding factor is who bothers to show up at the

With a reliable %85 turnout, each party would pick an otherwise unelectable
doofus whose loyalty to the party's best customers outweighs any silly concerns
about the state of the nation. Heck, under a system like that, even an Al Gore
or a George W. Bush could get nominated.

The other result of low turnout is the balance between parties. Historicaly, it
is rare for the Legislative and Executive branches to be the same party. Most
of the time, the majority of the House and Senate are the opposite party from
the President. If there were a high enough turnout, the party with the most
members would always win, and since party membership doesn't tend to change
rapidly, the dominant party would run the entire govornment. That would be bad.

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

Lack of true power at the polls (none / 0) (#20)
by Neuromancer on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 11:03:08 AM EST

Electoral College:
The reason that we don't show up to the polls, is because we don't wield any
real power.  We grow up and believe that our votes actually count for something
until we are about 17, when we learn that someone else actually casts their
vote.  While they are supposed to go along with the popular vote... 
Technically, they have the power to vote for someone else should they choose to
do so.

Oh yeah, and most people think that our candidates suck, the last real popular
president was Reagan.

...Personally, I liked Bush

Re: 83% Voter Turnout in Taiwan (none / 0) (#22)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 02:20:56 PM EST

I hope this isn't considered flame bait (I don't mean it to be) but perhaps voter turn out is so low in the U.S. because we (yes I'm a U.S. non voter) can see the sham that is the U.S. political system. Remember, the U.S. is not really a democracy (technically it's a republic, and practically it's a big-money/multi-national-corporation oligarchy.) The economy is centrally planned (with stock market shut off points, massive industry specific federal hand outs, interest rates controlled by a privately-held and highly secretive financial institution, ect...) and so are the political "choices" (through the byzantine political structures which make it next to impossible for an independent candidate to get on the ballot.) Perhaps the people of Taiwan are still operating under the idea that their vote will really make a difference. (Or maybe I'm just in a bad mood today.)

Hope for US Politics! (none / 0) (#23)
by rusty on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 04:18:48 PM EST

At last, the US has hope again! Lore Fitzgerald Sjöberg, of Brunching Shuttlecocks fame, has announced his candidacy for president in 2000. Running on the campaign slogan "Uncorruptable, Unimpeachable, Unelectable" the gist of the campaign appears to be that a president who is not old enough to serve is a president who will be unable to embarrass America. I find that politically sound. The Brunching Party platform will be determined by an upcoming web toy, so I urge all my fellow Americans (and foreigners, too! no reason you shouldn't have a say) to check over there and have your say when the time comes.

Not the real rusty
Re: 83% Voter Turnout in Taiwan (none / 0) (#24)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Mar 22, 2000 at 01:16:38 AM EST

the real reason is because the election MATTERS. taiwan is at a critical point in both politically where it is headed and in its relations with china. there is nothing startlingly different about america with low voter turnout vs countries like iran and taiwan that have very high turnout. america right now is prosperous and has few (if any) immediate, pressing concerns. taiwan and iran, on the other hand, are both in the midst of peaceful but substantial revolutions in political power. the kmt (nationalists) have had control of taiwan for 50 years. when they moved to a democratic form of government, they have had little effective opposition until now. the kmt is notorious for buying elections- they own many businesses related to the government and are known to stand outside polling boths offering money to vote for their candidates. shepherding the conversion to democracy was lee teng-huai, who controlled both the party as its chairman and the country as president. he decided not to run for president this year. he appointed a successor who was not as another man in his party, soong, who promptly declared his own candidacy nonetheless. on the other side is an opposition party that has repeatedly advocated taiwanese independence from china. add to this china's repeated threats,fear of assimilation like hong kong or macao, the more than $5 billion in assets taiwanese have on the mainland, to a transition of power in the kmt and a brutal 3-way race between the "new" and "old" in the kmt versus their opposition, and its a pretty exciting and important election... also, taiwan has a rule where you just prior to the election itself (a week? or so) you cant publish any polls on who people would vote for. the last poll showed all three of them even, with about 1/3 each. everyone knew that THEIR VOTE could make the difference. chen (opposition, independence party) won with only 39% of the vote. it was a very tight race.

Re: 83% Voter Turnout in Taiwan (none / 0) (#26)
by farlane on Wed Mar 22, 2000 at 09:29:22 AM EST

Perhaps the reason US voter turnout is so low is the same reason that folks are
complaining about the lack of "tech" in this post -- most Americans have a
"politics box" in which they put all thought, discourse, etc. regarding our
political process. We are uncomfortable discussing Politics in public and
expect it to sit quietly over there in the corner next to Art, Science and
Intestinal Medicine and not bother us.

Our political process is SUPPOSED to be invasive and pervasive. That's why it's
called a participatory democracy. Our lack of control over the political
process is a direct result of our abdication of responsibility, thought and
activity in the political arena. Daily attention on the part of citizens to
Politics helps to ensure that our GOVERNMENT is not invasive and pervasive.

Whew. Rant completed. Stepping down.

farlane aka andrew l. mcfarlane
83% Voter Turnout in Taiwan | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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