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Taiwan youth groups raising funds to help transport voters on election day

12/09/2023 02:03 PM
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University student leaders hold a press event at Taipei Main Station for their campaign launch on Friday. CNA photo Dec. 8, 2023
University student leaders hold a press event at Taipei Main Station for their campaign launch on Friday. CNA photo Dec. 8, 2023

Taipei, Dec. 9 (CNA) Several youth groups in Taiwan have initiated an online fundraising campaign to help transport Taiwanese students and young adults to their hometowns to vote in the presidential and legislative elections next month.

The initiative, spearheaded by the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy (TYAD) in collaboration with 30 university student groups, has been launched on the crowdfunding platform flyingV, with the aim of raising at least NT$600,000 (US$19,090), TYAD Managing Director Alvin Chang (張育萌) said Friday at a news conference in front of Taipei Main Station.

With the funds, Chang said, the young groups will be able to hire about 30 intercity shuttle buses that will transport young voters throughout Taiwan to the areas in which they are registered to vote in the Jan. 13, 2024 presidential and legislative elections, Chang said.

The money will also be used to subsidize the cost of ferry trips and domestic flights to and from Taiwan's offshore counties, he said, expressing the hope that at least 2,000 young voters will take advantage of the offers.

The intercity shuttle buses will be running on Jan. 12 and 13, offering transportation to voters 20-35 years of age, at a subsidized fare of NT$113 per person, according to the TYAD.

The youth groups that launched the fundraiser are not accepting donations from any political party for the initiative, Weng Hsin-jou (翁歆媃), chairperson of the National Students' Union of Taiwan, said at the press event.

The fund raising effort is being carried out solely to help young people obtain tickets to travel back to their hometowns at an affordable cost, she said.

Sera Fangis Pacidal, an Indigenous student at National Taiwan University's Department of Social Work, said at the TYAD press conference that traveling from Taipei to his hometown in Hualien County on election day is usually a challenge, as bus and train tickets are hard to obtain, and prices are high.

There are many university students from the east coast and island counties who also find it challenging to return home on election day, due to the transportation issues and the fact that it is close to the end of the semester, he said.

Another student, who is from Kaohsiung and is currently studying in New Taipei, said at the press conference that if she had to pay the full cost to travel home to vote, she would have to fork out NT$1,500 for a one-way high-speed train ticket, which would be a financial strain for her.

(By Chen Chih-chung and Ko Lin)

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