More suspected election abuses found

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2011, 12:00am

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More possible abuses have been found in district council voter registrations, following a spate of recent vote-rigging claims that have prompted an official investigation.

In one case - discovered and dealt with before the November 6 council elections - a voter listed an abandoned cinema in Southern District as his address, while in another an elector claimed to live on the 32nd floor of a 21-storey building.

The Democratic Party said it had found at least 33 problems in three of the 412 constituencies, while pan-democrats are still checking records to gather a full picture.

Critics say the problems stem from loopholes in the voter registration system that have yet to be plugged, despite years of complaints from lawmakers and election candidates.

The loopholes include no requirement for proof of residence when registering, too little time for the public to check the provisional registers and a long process to remove existing voters from the provisional and final registers.

Electors are also not required to bring their poll cards when casting votes and there is no cross-checking of personal particulars between the Registration and Electoral Office and other government departments.

Democratic Party vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said the party would collate the dubious electoral cases at a meeting on Saturday, and then discuss possible follow-up action with other pan-democratic groups.

Anomalies listed in earlier media reports, which are now under investigation, included a number of voters with different surnames giving a single flat in Mei Foo Sun Chuen as their official residence.

It remains unknown whether any of the suspected vote-rigging affected the election results.

More than 2,000 complaints about this month's polls have been lodged - about the same as in the 2007 election.

Democrat Henry Chai Man-hon, who won a seat in the Wah Fu II constituency of Southern District with 2,234 votes, checked three constituencies - his own, Wah Fu I and Wah Kwai - to find 33 questionable cases, including non-existent addresses.

'A voter put now-defunct Fortuna Theatre [in Wah Fu Estate] as his address,' Chai said.

'In neighbouring Wah Fu I, we found four entries with addresses that could have not existed. One claimed he lived on the 32nd floor while the block only has 21 storeys. One in Wah Kwai registered a flat on the ground floor but we found no residential units there.'

Democrat candidates lost in both Wah Fu I and Wah Kwai, where nine and 12 suspicious cases were found respectively.

Chai blamed the election rules for discouraging eradication of allegedly bogus addresses.

'The electoral offices removed the cinema entry as I complained during the two-week checking period of the provisional registers,' he said. 'But for the less blatant cases, I need a separate filing to the court for every single entry. As a candidate, you simply had no time to do it near election period ... and it should be the authority's responsibility to clear the uncertain cases.'

1.2m

The number of people who cast votes in the November 6 poll

- Turnout was more than 41 per cent, the highest since 2003

 

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