The following letter was published in the Taipei Times today. In the letter I suggest that Taiwan should adopt pre-poll and absentee voting to reduce the level of disenfranchisement in elections.
On the same day that voters turned out for the nine-in-one elections in Taiwan, there was also a state election in Victoria, Australia.
I followed both elections with interest and voted in my home state of Victoria.
Voters in both Victoria and Taiwan can be pleased about the way the elections were conducted and have a high degree of confidence in the integrity of the results.
One major difference between the two elections is that in Victoria almost 30% of voters cast their votes via pre-poll or postal vote.
Voters in Victoria also had the option of casting an absentee vote, i.e. voting in a district other than the one they were registered in on election day.
However, in Taiwan many people are denied the opportunity to vote because they cannot attend the polling booth near their registered residence on election day.
This leads to significant disenfranchisement of military and emergency services personnel, as well as university students, shift workers and other people living away from their registered residence.
Rather than informal arrangements such as a student association organising buses for students to travel home (University students, military members take steps to vote, Taipei Times, 19 Nov 2014) the Central Election Commission needs to implement pre-poll and absentee voting to ensure all Taiwanese have an opportunity to vote.
These measures could initially be trialled at by-elections before being adopted for nationwide elections.