Update voter lists

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 January, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 January, 1993, 12:00am

I REFER to Mr Samuel Wong's letter (Sunday Morning Post, December 20) written in response to my earlier letter in these columns (December 13).

Mr Wong questioned the relevance of my reference to the accuracy of the electoral list, and challenged me to suggest ways to address the problem of the low voter turnout.

The accuracy of the electoral list is surely relevant in this context because the list provides the basis for calculating the level of voter turnout.

In the case of the 1991 elections, separate groups of researchers, including one team from the Hongkong University, which conducted studies on select samples of the electorate, noted a significant proportion of registered voters could not be located at their reported addresses.

The conjecture was that possibly 20 per cent of registered electors had moved, emigrated, or passed away.

The official turnout in the 1991 Legislative Council elections was 39.15 per cent. But if the electoral list was inaccurate by a margin of 20 per cent, the actual rate would more likely be about 50 per cent.

Such a figure does not compare unfavourably with the voter turnouts in other Western democracies.

I have no difficulties with Mr Wong's suggestion that more should be done to boost the level of interest among Hongkong citizens in elections. Updating the electoral list and improvements in the administration of electoral arrangements would help.

T.T. LUI Lecturer Department of Political Science University of Hongkong