Abolishing the hukou system and adopting absentee voting would make a lot of sense, but doing so is more complex than you think
It was a problem during the 2012 elections, and it’s going to be a problem again less than three weeks from now: Because of the timing of their final exams set by the Central Election Commission (CEC) and inflexibility on the part of the Ministry of Education (MOE), a number of Taiwanese students probably won’t be able to cast their vote on Jan 16.
At the heart of the problem is the hukou, or household registration, system, which when it comes to elections stipulates that citizens of voting age (currently 20 years old) can only cast their vote where they are registered, and must do so in person. In short, Taiwan has no absentee voting system. Consequently, a number of university students whose last day of finals is Friday Jan. 15 will have a difficult time getting home in time to vote the next day, on the 16th. They might get there late, or could simply be unable to purchase high-speed rail, train, or bus tickets during those two days, when demand for public transportation will be inordinately high, it being the weekend and a nationwide Election Day.
My article, published today on Thinking Taiwan, continues here (composite photo: nownews)