Universities facilitate student voting with buses

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan–Universities across Taiwan chartered special buses on Friday to help students return in time to their constituencies to vote in today’s presidential and legislative elections. Absentee ballots do not exist in current voting regulations.

Many of the charter bus services were launched by students themselves through campus organizations. Some waiting lines for buses had banners saying, “Fight for your rights.” Charters buses leaving from Kaohsiung-area universities and colleges departing for Taipei, Hsinchu and Taichung (priced at NT$350, NT$340 and NT$250, respectively) were subsidized NT$50 for passengers of voting age with valid identification. The minimum voting age in the R.O.C. is currently 20. Organizers at one Kaohsiung institution said that the capacity of charter buses was lower than in previous elections, noting that students may have used increased rail services provided by both the Taiwan Railway Administration and the Taiwan High Speed Rail. An alliance of universities in Central and Southern Taiwan (中部返鄉投票專車聯盟) used fundraising activities to collect NT$770,000 (approx. US$22,900) for charter buses with fully subsidized fares for students. A student spokesperson of the organization said that seating was still available for today’s buses heading in the direction of Douliu, Chiayi, leaving from Chaoma. Seats were also available for buses heading for Miaoli and Hsinchu (also from Chaoma) Capacity levels of 85 percent and higher for charter buses were predicted by student officials at National Chengchi University in Taipei, which scheduled eight buses. National Taiwan University scheduled five evening buses and two additional buses for today. Polling stations nationwide will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Meanwhile, a professor at National Chenkung University in Tainan bought a promotional post on his Facebook fan page encouraging people to vote. Lee Chung-hsien, said that his was a more “lazy method” of getting out the vote. ”It’s suitable for someone who doesn’t want to lecture, campaign from street to street and to pass out paper advertisements. I spent one or two thousand NT (dollars) and can reach tens of thousands of accounts,” Lee wrote.