Faced with more than 2,000 objections, four magistrates must clear at least 100 cases each day to meet their deadline Four magistrates today will begin hearing more than 2,000 objections to the registration of voters in the forthcoming village elections. The magistrates, sitting as Revising Officers under the Village Representative Election Regulations, have only five working days to do the job, meaning they must hear 400 cases every day. If they divide the work equally, each will have 100 judgments to make every day. Assuming the officers will be sitting about seven hours a day in Fanling Court, there will be about 14 minutes available per case. Both sides in every case are entitled to be heard and can be represented by lawyers. While many of the objections are expected to be simple matters that can be clarified swiftly and easily, others could be complex disputes involving long legal arguments. Assistant Director of Home Affairs Monica Chen said the 2,000 objections were made after public scrutiny of the 2003 village representative electoral rolls. The rolls were available for examination from April 22 to May 5 at District Offices and Rural Committee offices in the New Territories. In addition to the written objections made to electoral registration officers and passed to the Revising Officers, the Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating at least four 'pursuable' cases in connection with the elections. Ms Chen said the 2,000 complaints varied in their nature and included objections on the basis of residency requirements for resident representative electors and the indigenous status of electors taking part in clan polls. Revising Officers will rule on each complaint. Those they support will be able to vote in the elections, to be held on staggered dates across the New Territories this year. The historic poll for the first time gives a vote to tens of thousands of 'outsiders' who live in New Territories villages. In the past, only indigenous villagers who could trace their ancestry through the male line to a resident of the village in 1898, when the lease for the New Territories was signed, were permitted to vote. The new 'two-heads' system will see two community leaders elected in each of the 707 recognised villages. One election will pick a representative of the indigenous villagers; only native sons can vote and they may live anywhere, even overseas. There will be a separate poll based on an electoral roll for Hong Kong residents who have had their primary residence in a village for three years. More than 83,000 people applied to vote in these polls.