Candidates' faces will adorn district council ballot papers
Ballot papers for the district council elections on November 18 have been redesigned to feature photographs of the candidates and to provide more information for voters.
In line with the design used in the 2004 Legislative Council election, the ballots will display candidates' pictures for the first time, and the names and logos of organisations or parties supporting the contenders.
The additional information will make the ballots about 70 per cent larger than those used in the last election in 2003. For instance, a sample sheet for a constituency with three candidates measured about 11cm by 19cm under the old design. With photographs and additional particulars of candidates, the new ballot will be about 14cm by 25cm.
The names and logos of 66 organisations and nine individuals registered with the Electoral Affairs Committee will be eligible to appear on the ballots. Candidates may also ask to use the words 'independent candidate' or 'non-affiliated candidate' in their personal particulars.
Democratic Party legislator and Kwai Tsing district councillor Lee Wing-tat said the inclusion of candidates' photographs and party logos would enable illiterate citizens to vote, and displaying candidates' political affiliations would also help voters. Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong chairman Tam Yiu-chung also welcomed the new design.
Electoral Affairs Committee chairman Pang Kin-kee said the district council elections would cost about HK$130 million. Some 540 polling stations will be needed if all 405 seats are contested.
Mr Justice Pang also announced yesterday that nominations for the Legco by-election to fill the Hong Kong Island seat vacated by the death of former DAB chairman Ma Lik would be open from October 17 to 31.
Asked whether the pan-democrats' preliminary selection debate would be included in candidates' election costs, Mr Justice Pang said those who intended to run should consult their own legal advisers, but cautioned against stepping into legal grey areas.
The by-election's cost has been estimated at HK$26 million - HK$6 million more than the 2000 Legco by-election, due to the introduction of a subsidy scheme for candidates.
Mr Justice Pang said several million dollars could have been saved if the by-election, scheduled for December 2, had been held along with the district council elections, but he said the key consideration had been to avoid confusing voters.