15 complained about poll evictions, says watchdog

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 October, 2004, 12:00am

The Electoral Affairs Commission has received 15 complaints about the eviction or exclusion of candidates and their agents from 31 polling stations - while they were being converted to counting stations - during the September 12 Legco election.

In a paper submitted to the Legislative Council's panel on constitutional affairs, the Registration and Electoral Office said presiding officers would be asked to explain why people had been asked to leave, or had been refused entry to, the stations.

The office also released the total number of complaints it had received about four other kinds of irregularities - which the commission is now investigating - in the paper to be discussed at tomorrow's panel meeting.

The commission will soon submit an interim report to the chief executive on the progress of its investigation, before submitting its final report by December 12.

The office said five complaints had been filed about sealed ballot boxes being opened at some polling stations during the voting.

Fifteen complaints, involving five polling stations, were made about the use of cardboard boxes as ballot boxes, the office said.

The commission has also received four complaints about the temporary closing of some polling stations. Candidates filed three complaints about delays in announcing the election results for geographical constituencies.

Candidates in four functional constituencies had complained that the number of ballots counted in their seats exceeded the voter turnout figures announced during the poll.

In response, the office said the hourly voter turnout figures were only meant as a reference for the media and the public.

To avoid misunderstandings in future, it said: 'The commission will consider adding an express reminder when announcing hourly voter turnout figures in future elections that the figures are for provisional reference only.'

Meanwhile, Cheung Hon-yin, a voter dissatisfied with the balloting arrangements in New Territories East, yesterday applied for legal aid to lodge a petition to overturn the election outcome.

But Mr Cheung, accompanied by Democratic Party district councillor Paul Yu Chi-shing, said he needed to provide more information to the Legal Aid Department before it decided whether to accept his case.