Ep13: Will you go vote? | Lí kám ē khì tâu-phiò 你敢會去投票?

Bite-size Taiwanese - Cover Art - Elementary - 2500x2500
Bite-size Taiwanese | Elementary
Ep13: Will you go vote? | Lí kám ē khì tâu-phiò 你敢會去投票?

As Taiwan’s presidential election is drawing near, in this episode we’ve talked about elections in Taiwan and related vocabulary.

These show notes use tables and rich formatting. Please visit the episode webpage for an optimal viewing experience.)

Tsit lé-pài-la̍k suán-kí. Saturday is election day.
suán-kí / suán- election
tsi̍t kái once every 4 years
tāi-suán general election
tsóng-thóng tāi-suán presidential election
tsóng-thóng president
hù-tsóng-thóng vice-president
hāu-suán-jîn candidate
tsìng-tóng political party
Lí kám ē khì tâu-phiò? Are you going to vote?
tâu-phiò to vote
hōo-tsi̍k household registration
li̍p-huat-īnn the Legislative Yuan or legislature
li̍p-huat uí-uân / li̍p- legislators
suán-khu electoral district
guân-tsū-bîn (Taiwan’s) aborigines
la̍k si̍k 6 electoral seats
tshī-tiúnn mayor
tshī-gī-uân city councilor
tâu-phiò thong-ti-tuann election notice
sin-hūn-tsìng National ID
ìn-á name chop; seal, stamp
tâu-phiò-sóo polling place
suán-phiò ballot
tǹg-phiò to stamp the ballot
phiò-siunn ballot box

*Syllables that have been greyed out require a tone change

*For those of you who are eligible to vote in Taiwan*

Voting is open on Saturday from 8am to 4pm.

Please remember to bring your:
1) national ID, 2) election notice, and 3) name chop.

This time you will receive 3 ballots at the polling place:
1) a ballot for president, 2) a ballot for your district legislator, and 3) a ballot for a political party.

To learn more about the elections and related words in Taiwan, check out our workbook. It gives you some additional vocabulary, culture and grammar explanations, and great exercises to reinforce what you’ve learned in this episode.


Legal age for voting

To vote in a Taiwanese election, you have to be a citizen and at least 20 years old. For referendums, the legal age is 18.

No absentee voting

The election is always held on a Saturday from 8am to 4pm. Voter turnout is usually quite high. It is really amazing since Taiwan doesn’t allow absentee voting so voters must vote where they have household registration. Many Taiwanese citizens will travel back to their hometowns to vote, and some even fly back from other countries.

Presidential election

In Taiwan, the presidential election is held every 4 years. The first direct elections for President happened in 1996.

The "9-in-1" election

Another general election for local positions in special municipalities, counties, cities, and townships is called the "9-in-1 election". This is where people elect positions like mayors, and city councilors. It is held every 4 years and offset 2 years from the presidential election.


The two major political parties in Taiwan are:

  • Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)
  • Chinese Nationalist Party (or "Kuomintang", KMT)

Legislative Yuan

The legislative offices in Taiwan is a unicameral, one body legislature called the "Legislative Yuan".

113 seats = 73 (district) + 6 (aborigines) + 34 (at-large; >50% female)

The Legislature in Taiwan has 113 legislators, 73 of which are elected according to geographically drawn electoral districts.

Another 6 seats are specially allocated to Taiwan’s Aborigines and only those who have Aboriginal status can vote for them. All of Taiwan gets split into 2 aboriginal voting districts: mountain tribes and plains tribes, each electing 3 seats.

There are also 34 seats for legislators-at-large allocated based on a proportional representation system. Besides voting for a candidate from their electoral district, the voters also get to vote for the political party they support. Based on the proportion of votes won by each political party, they’ll get that proportion of the 34 seats.

Also by law, each political must have at least 50% of their selected legislators-at-large be female.


Our One Bite Challenge this week is a saying about leap years and luck:

Sanntsi̍t jūn, hó-pháinn tsiàu lûn.

Literally, it means “every three years there’s a leap; good and bad take turns.” Let’s break down the sentence:

jūn Intercalation (adding leap days and months)

Culture note: Taiwanese traditional calendar is a luni-solar system and every 2 to 3 years there’s an additional “month” put into the calendar.

hó-pháinn good and bad
tsiàu accordingly, in accordance with
lûn to alternate, to take turns

This saying basically means no one will have good or bad luck that lasts forever. It is usually said to console someone who’s had bad luck or has gone through a rough time, but it can also mean “every dog has its day”. Maybe you are being lucky this time and walking on air now but next time it will be someone else who has better luck.

Music Credit: TeknoAXE

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