Every adult permanent resident will have the chance to cast a vote for chief executive this Friday, in an attempt to influence the 1,193 people who will choose the city's next leader.
The results of the simulated ballot, organised by the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme, will be made known to members of the Election Committee, which will choose Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's successor two days later, on March 25. 'We will hold the civil referendum two days before the actual polling day to give Election Committee members and the public a day to digest our results,' programme head Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu said.
Anyone aged over 18 can vote via the popvote.hk website, by using the PopVote 323 smartphone app or at one of 15 polling stations. The stations will be open from 9am to 9pm, while online voting will open at midnight and run until 8pm. The result is expected at 10pm. Voters can choose between Leung Chun-ying, Henry Tang Ying-yen and Albert Ho Chun-ying, or cast an abstention vote.
Chung set out last month to raise HK$500,000 to run the poll. But with more than HK$760,000 raised, some HK$80,000 has been set aside in case no candidate reaches the required 601 Election Committee votes, which would lead to a poll rerun in May.
He expects around 50,000 people to vote. 'It will be very desirable if the turnout reaches 100,000,' he said. 'If hundreds of thousands of people come out to vote, our [computer] system may get overloaded. But it may indirectly show our success.'
Online voters must provide identity card and mobile phone numbers, and at polling stations show their identity card. Personal information will be deleted after one week.
The government said yesterday deputy secretary for financial services and the treasury Alice Lau Yim would head the chief executive-designate's office. Tasked with ensuring the new government's smooth transition, it will operate from the day the chief executive is elected to June 30.