Berman Hails Fix to California's Online Voter Registration System: Taiwanese-Born Voters Can Now Record Taiwan as Birthplace, Not Taiwan, Province of China

Press Release

By:  Howard Berman
Date: May 4, 2012
Location: Valley Village, CA

Less than a week after writing California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, requesting the state government change its online voter registration system allowing Taiwanese-Americans to list "Taiwan" as their country of birth, rather than "Taiwan, Province of China," the correction was made on the online registry.

"Today is a victory for the Taiwanese-American community in California," said U.S. Rep. Howard Berman. "An unfortunate wrong was righted and when Taiwanese-Americans register to vote in California, no longer will they have to list "Taiwan, Province of China' as their country of birth, but rather, Taiwan. California Secretary of State Bowen and her staff deserve praise for their quick action."

In the letter to Secretary of State Bowen dated April 30, Berman wrote: "It has been long-standing U.S. policy that the U.S. government refers to Taiwan as "Taiwan.' Federal and quasi-federal agencies such as Amtrak, the U.S. Postal Service, and the U.S. State Department, all refer to Taiwan simply as "Taiwan." I would respectfully request that your office, as a government agency, adopt the same terminology in reference to Taiwan."

Berman has weighed in on similar issues affecting the Taiwanese-American community in the past.

He championed legislation allowing Taiwanese-Americans to have "Taiwan" recorded as their birthplace on their American passports. Berman authored H.R. 5034 along with then Rep. Olympia Snow (R-ME) in September 1994 providing the U.S. Secretary of State the authority to write Taiwan as the place of birth in a passport when requested by the applicant who was born there. The bill passed and was signed into law. Until then, "China" had been listed as the birthplace for Taiwanese Americans.

Below is a screen grab of the voter registration form that now lists Taiwan as the lone option for Californians from Taiwan to list their place of birth on the Secretary of State's website.