Hongkongers may have a say in the forthcoming chief executive election through a simulated vote. The University of Hong Kong's (HKU) public opinion programme plans to hold a citywide poll two days before the official March 25 election, when the 1,200-strong election committee will pick the city's next leader.
The simulated poll's result will have no legal or official significance, but programme director Robert Chung Ting-yiu believes it will serve as a powerful indicator of public opinion. 'Committee members, who promised to take into account public opinion, should consider the results of e-polling seriously before deciding which candidate to support in the real election,' he says.
Permanent residents, aged 18 and over, can cast an e-polling vote on March 23, with the result given on the same day. Voting will take place on an electronic voting platform, accessed via personal computers or mobile devices. Identity card numbers and phone numbers will verify that a person can take part. People can also use terminals set up at polling stations.
Chung expects up to 100,000 people will take part in the initiative, but the idea has yet to be confirmed.
His HKU team has carried out many public surveys, involving the opinions of up to 1,000 people each time. But Chung said the simulated vote's greater number of replies meant it would have greater value.
He hopes candidates Henry Tang Ying-yen, Leung Chun-ying, and a still-to-de-decided pan-democrat candidate, will help to sponsor the e-polling vote, which will cost about HK$500,000 to administer.