Simulated voting not new to Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 December, 2011, 12:00am


Simulated voting may sound like a novel idea to many, but it has been tried with some success in Hong Kong before.

In 1993, Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu from the University of Hong Kong led a simulated poll on whether the government should make voting compulsory.

While it was done in the old paper-and-pencil fashion, this time Chung wants to replace it with an internet-based system to let people make their choice for as chief executive. This would provide instant results and save on the costs of vote-counting.

Chung said the system was well-tested and could produce credible results. In 2005, Estonia became the first country to offer internet voting nationally in local elections, with about 9,300 people voting online.

Under Chung's proposal, voters would have to key in their Hong Kong identity card number and a mobile phone number on a designated webpage for e-polling. The identity card number would be converted by the computer system into a chain of codes to protect voters' privacy and prevent repeat voting. The system would then show a telephone number for verification, to which voters must send a blank SMS using their registered mobile phone number.

Upon receipt of the blank SMS, the system opens a voting interface for voters to cast ballots. If a voter's ID number or mobile phone number has already been used, the system will not open the voting interface.

Chung said at least one polling station would be set up as a safety valve to prevent fraudulent voting. If voters found their ID number had already been used in off-site e-polling, they would be allowed to vote but would be told that the previous offsite voting record would be disqualified.

Off-site e-polling through computer terminals or mobile devices would take place from 8am to 8pm on March 23. On-site e-polling at polling stations would take place from 9am to 9pm on the same day.


The number of people who cast ballots in a simulated poll in 1993 on whether the government should make voting compulsory