Generation Now Asia's (GNA) 2024 Youth Election Observation Tour marked a significant opportunity for 20 youth participants to immerse themselves in Taiwan's vibrant democratic landscape. The 3-day program provided a comprehensive understanding of Taiwan’s presidential election process, in addition to providing knowledge of presidential candidates and parties while fostering collective learning among the participants.
GNA’s program drew participants from a diverse array of locations, including Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, various European countries, Columbia and the United States, showcasing the widespread global interest in Taiwan's democratic elections!
On the first day of the program, participants were welcomed to engage in a pre-election lecture and election observation training. The distinguished speakers for the day included Dr. Chiung-chu Lin, an esteemed faculty member from the Department of Political Science at National Chung Cheng University. Dr. Lin, with an extensive background in political science, delivered an insightful presentation on Taiwan's electoral systems and Taiwan’s election-related regulations.
Additionally, the participants gained valuable insights from Da-Wun Sie, a Freelance Journalist known for his expertise in political reporting. Da-Wun provided an engaging presentation, offering an understanding of the focal points shaping Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election. His contribution not only enriched the participants' understanding of the upcoming election but also set the stage for an informed and exploration of the political dynamics at play.
On the program's second day, participants were assigned to observe various polling stations' preparations, tasked to check whether regulation standards were met. Armed with checklists, participants assessed various aspects, answering questions such as: Is the polling station situated in a neutral location? Are the facilities accessible to all, including individuals with disabilities?
During the evening, participants had the opportunity to attend the final campaign rallies of the presidential candidates. This experience allowed them to witness the energy of the rallies firsthand and conduct interviews with attendees. The objective was to gain a deeper understanding of the factors motivating individuals to support specific candidates and understand further what each party is standing for - This hands-on engagement offered valuable insights into the diverse motivations driving voter sentiment.
The third and final day of the program took place on Taiwan’s 2024 election day (1/13), this offered the participants the opportunity to observe the voting process and subsequent counting procedures at various polling stations. The day's activities were designed to offer a firsthand understanding of the democratic and transparent methods used during Taiwan’s electoral process.
Following the observation period, participants engaged in a comprehensive group discussion and sharing session, allowing them to reflect on their observations, exchange perspectives, and collectively analyse aspects of Taiwan’s election process.
Emily, a staff member of GNA, facilitated the post-election discussion on the program's final day. To kick off the session, she prompted all 20 participants to use just one word to describe what they felt or experienced during the past three days. The responses varied including words such as; solidarity, inspired, fun, optimistic, curious, exciting, essential, moved, and more. These expressions captured the diverse range of feelings and insights gained throughout the program by different participants.
Following that, we divided into three groups to delve deeper into our observations and were given the opportunity to present our findings. The discussions were insightful, benefiting from the diverse backgrounds of the participants - with some coming from democratic countries and others not - a broad spectrum of perspectives and observations enriched the conversation.
Here are some points presented by each group:
Group 1 comments:
“In Vietnam, we call elections the national festival of the people, but we’ve never felt it, and yet this time now that we’re here in Taiwan at the elections we were able to see the true national festival, the process was fun, transparent, the process was friendly and also secure! Our major takeaway [of observing Taiwan’s 2024 elections] would be transparency, because we come from Vietnam we don’t get to know what our government is really doing”
Group 2 comments:
“Efficiency is a word that really came up for us, when observing Taiwan’s democratic process it all seemed very efficient. We also noticed the high percentage of women that were working at the polling stations and would like to mention that. I guess our key takeaway is there seems to be some fatigue with politics as usual in Taiwan”
Group 3 comments:
“For the polling process we were not allowed in when the voters came and voted so we had to stay outside but for the counting it was very clear and very organised, there were people that were coming and filming the whole process” “We went to the DPP and KMT rally, which were a bit different! It was interesting to observe the difference; DPP's felt family friendly and like a rock concert, whereas KMT’s rally had a lot more men and lots of cheerleaders.”
Do you want to read more about the details of Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election? If so, these articles written by some of GNA’s tour’s attendees and speakers may be of interest to you!
And check out Da-Wun Sie's interview with GNA's volunteer videographer June Ku below in the video!