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Title: Political Cycle of Voters' Understanding of the New Electoral System: the Case of Taiwan
Authors: 黃紀;游清鑫
Huang, Chi
Contributors: 政大政治系
Date: 2011-11
Issue Date: 2013-06-21 10:33:54 (UTC+8)
Abstract: On 6 June 2005, the National Assembly in Taiwan ratified the constitutional amendment
to cut the number of legislative seats from 225 to 113, to extend legislators’ terms of office
from three years to four, and most importantly, to adopt a new mixed-member majoritarian
(MMM) electoral system to replace the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) system for legislative
 The election of the 7th Legislative Yuan on 12 January 2008, was the first instance of this
new mixed electoral system being practiced in Taiwan. Several scholars and political pundits
have examined the impacts of adopting the mixed-member majoritarian system. However, almost
all assume voters were fully aware of the new two-ballot electoral system and made their
choices accordingly. The purpose of this paper is to question this assumption by exploring the
vicissitude of voters’ knowledge of the new electoral rules and their determinants. This paper
argues that most voters are ignorant of, and oblivious to, the changes in the electoral system.
That is, voters’ awareness of the electoral system is a function of legislative electoral cycle as
well as the efforts of political parties and candidates’ campaigns to maneuver the electorate and
take advantage of the new rule. If this notion is correct, the cycle of voters’ knowledge can be
expected to move in tandem with the electoral cycle. That is, voters become more and more
aware of the new electoral rules before the legislative election and then tend to forget about it
during the mid-term period. The awareness picks up again a few months before the next legislative
election is scheduled. We test this political cycle hypothesis by comparing the results
from the five waves of pre-election rolling surveys during the late 2007 and two waves of postelection
surveys conducted in early 2010 and early 2011. We find that voters’ knowledge of the
new electoral system, including term of office, district magnitude, ballot structure and PR (Proportional
Representation) threshold, indeed rose gradually during the campaigning period before
the 2008 legislative election. Then, with the exception of the office term, voters’
knowledge of all the other three elements of the new electoral rules declined substantially after
Relation: Japanese Journal of Electoral Studies, 27(2), 60-76
Data Type: article
DOI 連結:
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