Legislative Council elections 2016

180 Hong Kong ‘super seat’ voters who complained of not being able to vote in Legco poll did not register for the constituency, official says

Undersecretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Ronald Chan responds to concerns over conduct of September’s election

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2016, 8:43pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2016, 9:50pm

The 180 voters who complained of not being able to cast their ballots in the “super seat” functional constituency in September’s Legislative Council elections had chosen not to be a voter in that category when registering, Undersecretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Ronald Chan Ngok-pang said on Wednesday.

Chan made the claim in a written reply to Legco in response to public concerns over the way the election was carried out.

“The (Registration and Electoral Office), after checking the relevant records, found all the electors concerned had chosen not to be registered as an elector for the [super seat category] when submitting their applications,” Chan said.

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As a result, the office “acted in accordance with their wishes” and did not include them in the list of registered “super seat” voters.

The “super seat” term refers to the District Councils (Second) functional constituency in which all electors without a vote in any other functional constituency may cast their ballots in a citywide election.

The information was provided in response to an inquiry by Democratic Party lawmaker Hui Chi-fung.

Hui also questioned why the office arranged for polling staff to take home ballot papers, registration lists and other electoral materials for temporary custody about a week before polling day. The documents were only returned to polling stations on the morning of election day.

“[This practice] is the same as that for previous public elections and has been adopted for years and has been effective,” Chan said.

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Presiding election officers and their deputies had to undertake specified procedures when collecting the ballot papers, including checking the quantity and serial numbers against office records, he said.

All the ballot papers collected were sealed in bags and kept in locked suitcases.

“[Officers] were required to keep safe custody of the ballot papers and unpack them only before the poll started,” Chan said.

Hui also pressed Chan on why the number of ballot papers issued and collected did not tally at some polling stations. He also said he had noticed the polling hours of some stations were extended by several hours after the scheduled closing time of 10.30pm on September 4.

Chan admitted the office had found “obvious discrepancies” between the number of ballot papers issued and collected, for example, at the Sheung Tak Community Hall in Sai Kung and the Sham Tseng Catholic Primary School in Tsuen Wan.

The office had already launched a probe, he said.

On criticism over long queues outside polling stations after their scheduled closing time, Chan said the office was reviewing arrangements and would propose improvement measures accordingly.