Focus Taiwan: 2020 Elections: Hong Kong on the minds of first-time voters

Taipei, Dec. 22 (CNA) The months-long democracy movement in Hong Kong will likely encourage more young Taiwanese first-time voters to cast ballots in January’s presidential and legislative elections, scholars and students told CNA recently.

Twenty-two-year-old Tsai Yi-kai (蔡一愷), head of the student association at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Tainan, said students there are normally not that involved or interested in politics and see voting as a hassle.

Taiwan does not have absentee ballots, forcing college students who attend schools far from their homes to spend time returning to their hometowns if they want to vote.

“It’s not that we don’t want to vote, but it is too time-consuming and costly to cast ballots,” said Huang Yen-cheng (黃彥誠), a 22-year-old student at Soochow University in Taipei and a member of the National Students’ Union of Taiwan.

The ongoing protests in Hong Kong and the increasing violence used by Hong Kong authorities against the demonstrators could change that mindset, however, according to Tsai and Huang, who will both vote in a presidential election for the first time on Jan. 11, 2020.

Huang said many students told him they intend to vote following the huge victory of pro-democracy candidates in Hong Kong’s district council elections last month.

“After seeing the voice of Hong Kong’s people being heard, we want our voice to be heard as well,” Huang said.

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