Thursday, December 2, 2010

Need for educating and outreach to the electorate

A comment by Les in response to Michael Turton's blog post on vote buying reminds us of something that needs to be addressed -- which we actually can have an impact addressing.

The comment is in regard to how it is that Taiwanese -- especially older or less educated Taiwanese -- could be willing to give their vote away to the first vote buyer that comes along -- which often is KMT/Gangster connected.

A lot of vote-buying relies on the fear of reprisal and some twisted sense of debt owed to the buyer.
The village / town KMT stooges are known to all and it's usually unstated threat that 'we will know' if the bought vote isn't cast. This is helped along by the knowledge that the civil service that is counting is mainly pan-blue.
Rural voters are especially susceptible to the idea that the politicians are their betters. When someone comes and offers politely to buy their vote, it's considered rude to refuse. Likewise, once the vote is bought it's considered rude not to cast it.
Quite a few of my green-leaning friends have older relatives who consistently sell their votes for these reasons, and no amount of explaining or cajoling will change that behavior.

Parents / older relatives of green-leaning friends. The ones selling the votes are not particularly interested in politics per se, but are independence minded and profess a Taiwan identity rather than a Chinese one. The kids live in the city and are DPP supporters. I think the older relatives will sell their vote to the first person who comes to the house, and it's out of some sense that when the 'VIPs' ask, you have to go along, especially when they come bearing gifts. I don't believe they are ignoring deep-seated beliefs for this. More likely they are apathetic about politics in general. Then there is the fear factor, that things will go badly for them if they don't go along with the requests and the 'VIP' doing the asking gets (re)elected anyway.
10:49 AM

IN CONCLUSION: We should organize volunteers to educate the less educated electorate with flyers and door-to-door visits to prepare them on how to behave and respond when a vote-buyer comes a-knocking on their doors.

A persistent, long-term campaign against this vote-buyer intimidation , arming the people with responses and reasons, etc. could gradually make the electoral soil unfertile for vote harvesting.

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