Thousands queue to vote in mock election

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 March, 2012, 12:00am


Thousands stood in long queues to cast ballots in yesterday's mock election for the city's new leader.

They said the wait was worth the opportunity to express their political views. Some travelled for up to an hour to get to the main polling station at Polytechnic University, in Hung Hom, only to stand in line when the online voting system broke down.

Many cast blank ballots, saying none of the three candidates would make a suitable chief executive. Others said they cherished the chance to express their views since they had no say in the election on Sunday.

At the university, some people waited for as long as half an hour in the 200-strong queue before they could cast their votes.

A marketing lecturer at the university took the time to vote for Henry Tang Ying-yen before going to class to give a lecture.

Surnamed Tai, she said she had been unable to log on to the online voting system in the morning. 'It was more difficult to get onto the online system than to buy tickets for Lady Gaga's concert,' she said.

'I don't want Leung Chun-ying to win with a high level of public support, so I'm here.'

Wheelchair-user Siu Tung-choi, 60, travelled half an hour from Kwun Tong. He cast a blank vote, saying none of the candidates had initiatives to narrow the wealth gap.

Of the 16 people the South China Morning Post talked to, five cast blank votes, four voted for Tang, one for Ho and another for Leung. The others refused to disclose their choice.

Separately, some disabled voters said they felt insulted after the mock election's organisers decided not to count their votes because of a change in the ballot's format. About 200 of them voted yesterday before the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme announced that paper ballots should be placed into envelopes with the voters' identity card numbers written on them.

'That's just wrong,' said Tony Shing Li-lim from the Hong Kong Federation of the Blind.

He also criticised the organisers for requiring voters to write their identity card numbers on the envelopes, saying that was against the principle of democratic elections, which guarantee secret ballots.

Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu, the programme's head, said vote counters would discard the envelopes once they were opened, and would not make any connection between people's ID card numbers and who they voted for.

He said organisers might release the results before all the ballots were counted, before the 1,193 Election Committee members had voted.