Election highs and lows

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 September, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 September, 2004, 12:00am

This year's direct Legco election had the highest voter turnout ever. I am so proud, as this was also my first time to vote and fulfil my role as a Hong Kong citizen.

Disappointingly, it was also the most problematic election.

I really like that they printed the candidates' pictures on the ballot sheets so as to avoid name confusion, especially among the elderly.

But the sheet was huge and the ballot boxes were tiny, so you needed to fold it very carefully to slip it into the box. It should have been predictable that such large sheets would occupy more ballot box space and that this years' voter turnout would increase tremendously.

The government failed to correctly estimate the number, leading to enthusiastic voters having to queue during the transfer of boxes. This should not have happened.

Then the total number of voters and the votes cast were different. How can sheets of paper disappear or appear suddenly?

Besides that, the people who were responsible for watching the counting process were kept out of the centre for nearly half an hour.

Sadly, elections chief Woo Kwok-hing still hasn't given any explanation for these incidents and no investigation has been set up to find out what really happened.

This affects some candidates who lost by 60-something votes and lowered some citizens' trust in the system, but also did irreparable damage to Hong Kong's reputation for having a just and fair election system.

Mr Woo's insincerity at the beginning to admit the mistakes and failure to give a reason for all these mishaps really disappointed me. Maybe he should resign in the spirit of accountability in Hong Kong.

We have first-class voters who are disciplined and responsible enough to wait and fulfil their duty, thus we do not deserve a third-class voting system.

I hope serious evaluations and discussions will take place to prevent similar mistakes in future elections.

Pulcheria is a regular SYP columnist