Plan to hook new generation of voters online

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 March, 2011, 12:00am

The government will appeal to the young to register as voters with the help of new media including Facebook and YouTube.

The HK$27 million voter registration campaign is one element of the Registration and Electoral Office's plans ahead of the coming wave of elections - from the District Council poll to be held in November to the Legislative Council elections in September next year.

The six-week campaign from early June to mid-July will include new initiatives to save paper and will encourage more young people to register as voters.

It includes promotions on social-networking site Facebook and video-sharing platform YouTube, and registration exercises for secondary schools and higher education institutions, according to a paper submitted by the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau to Legco.

Democratic Party vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing welcomed the move.

'It is important to create a fashion among the public with green and new media initiatives,' the lawmaker said.

Similar to previous practices, 'appropriate celebrities' would be appointed as campaign ambassadors to push the publicity drive.

With at least 400 tonnes of paper (the equivalent of 7,000 trees, according to a previous study by environmental group GreenSense) sent by candidates to voters during the Legislative Council poll in 2008, the office's proposed election arrangements also included plans to reduce paper consumption.

A platform would be set up on the government website for registered electors, who would be encouraged to provide e-mail addresses to which candidates could send election advertisements.

Members of the public registering as new voters would be encouraged to provide e-mail addresses when submitting their applications.

Lau said fostering the use of an electronic platform for election activities could help candidates.

'It saves paper as well as time and money for the candidates,' she said. 'This means election expenses can be lowered.'