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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

The Electoral Affairs Commission today appealed to citizens to cherish the Legislative Council General Election and not to interfere or influence elections with violence.

In a statement responding to media enquiries on the polling and counting procedures for the 2020 LegCo election, the commission said elections are important constitutional arrangements and the public should carry on the long-standing good election culture.

The statement noted preparations for the 2020 LegCo election, to be held in September, are in full swing. The commission issued the guidelines on the upcoming LegCo election and subsequent by-elections in June and will adopt various polling and counting arrangements.

Among others, Presiding Officers, as far as practicable, will arrange for elderly, pregnant and disabled electors to sit inside the polling station and wait for collecting their ballot papers with their positions in the queue properly marked.

On preventing tendered votes, according to the law, when issuing a ballot paper to an elector, the polling staff will draw a line in the copy of the elector register across that elector’s name and identity document number.

To enhance the transparency of issuing ballot papers, the polling staff will draw the line under the concerned elector’s observation, while at the same time cover up the other entries in the register copy to protect electors’ personal data.

If polling stations have enough space, the Registration & Electoral Office will allow more election agents and polling agents appointed by candidates or the candidates themselves in to observe the issuing of ballot papers.

The electoral staff recruited for each election come from different bureaus and departments. They often do not know each other and can play the role of mutual monitoring at the polling and counting stations.

Additionally, for this year’s Legislative Council General Election, recording facilities will be installed in each counting station and the central counting station, including the counting zone.

The arrangement aims to maintain a safe environment for members of the public and staff inside the counting stations as well as for record purposes.

For the suggestion to install closed-circuit television to record the polling stations’ actual situation, the commission said that an important principle of the electoral system is the vote’s anonymity and confidentiality.

The electoral system has been trusted by the public for a long time. Therefore any important changes must have sufficient reasons to avoid weakening people’s confidence in the electoral system.

The commission reiterated that it is not a law enforcement agency and has no right to enforce the law. Maintaining law and order is Police’s responsibility. Candidates who believe they are targeted and the election’s fairness is affected can make an election petition to query the election result.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News