'Holes in plan' to plug voting gaps
The government's proposed measures to plug loopholes in the voters' registration system could generate more problems than answers, legislators said yesterday.
At a Legislative Council panel meeting yesterday, lawmakers said the proposed new requirement for voters to show proof of their home address could discourage people from registering to vote.
They also questioned whether a bank statement should be accepted as proof of residence, as the government is proposing. Banks usually required clients to provide only a correspondence address, without any proof, they noted.
Legislator Ip Kwok-him, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said: 'The electoral authorities did not do their job properly in the past, and now they have come up with measures in a bid to shift the responsibility onto the people.'
Audrey Eu Yuet-mee of the Civic Party shared that concern, and suggested that 'one easy way [to fix the problem] is to require voters to bring along their polling cards when they go to vote'.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen defended the government's proposals as cost-effective and efficient. He objected to the polling card requirement as being too much trouble for voters.
Under the government proposals prospective voters will have to provide proof of their home address when registering or updating their addresses. Proof considered acceptable includes bank statements, correspondence with the government and electricity bills.
The measures come after vote-rigging allegations in the wake of the district council elections last month.
Meanwhile, police arrested a 46-year-old man in Tai Po yesterday on suspicion of providing a false address in voter registration for Ping Shan South constituency in Yuen Long.
The proportion of the city's registered voters who will have to give proof of their home address in random checks from next month