THE electoral authorities were yesterday urged to review vote-counting procedures to improve fairness and openness. Former legislator Tam Yiu-chung, vice-chairman of the pro-China Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, said there were many loopholes in the counting procedures. 'The procedure constitutes a very important part of the whole election. We would like to make some recommendations which might help improve the counting procedures,' he told the Boundary and Election Commission. Mr Tam lost to the Democratic Party's Fred Li Wah-ming by 30,133 votes to 29,009 in the September Legco elections. The first count had given Mr Tam 1,000 votes too many. Democratic Alliance member Kwok Bit-chun, a counting agent since 1982, said it was difficult to supervise the counting process. 'Only two counting agents are allowed to supervise the counting process but there were almost 100 counting staff. Even together with the candidate and the election manager, four people can barely conduct effective monitoring,' he said. He urged commission chairman Mr Justice Woo Kwok-hing to supply candidates with counting guidelines. Mr Justice Woo agreed with the recommendation. He said the guidelines had been completed just before the poll and it had not been possible to distribute them. Mr Justice Woo admitted that the counting staff were not professional counters and four half-day training sessions might not be enough for them to become familiar with the counting procedure. But staff who made mistakes would be censured if the consequences were far-reaching.