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California lists 'Taiwan' in voter registration system

2012/05/06 18:53:26

Los Angeles, May 5 (CNA) The California state government has changed its voter registration website to allow Taiwan-born voters to list their place of birth as "Taiwan" rather than "Taiwan, Province of China" when registering to vote.

"It is a victory for the Taiwanese-American community in California," California Democratic Representative Howard Berman said Saturday.

The change was made less than a week after Berman wrote a letter of protest after many California residents born in Taiwan complained about the state's online voter registration system.

In the letter to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Berman asked for the dropdown menu to be corrected to allow Taiwanese-Americans to list their country of birth as "Taiwan."

Berman pointed out that various U.S. federal government systems, including the Postal Service and the National Railroad Passenger Corp., use the term "Taiwan" and said that "the state of California should do the same."

Berman has long championed this issue. He was a key sponsor of legislation in 1994 that allows Taiwanese-Americans to have "Taiwan," instead of "China," recorded as their birthplace on their U.S. passports.

The Formosan Association for Public Affairs, a Washington-based pro-Taiwan independence group, described the website change as "a significant achievement" and it expressed hope that other states will follow suit.

(By Oscar Wu and Hanna Liu)