Political analysts attribute rise to July 1 protest and growing political awareness More than 310,000 people submitted forms to the Registration and Electoral Office during the latest six-week voter registration campaign - almost double the number recorded in the previous District Council elections in 1999. Political analysts attribute the drastic increase both to the controversy surrounding the Article 23 legislation and the large turnout at this month's rallies, where organisers appealed to protesters to register, in order to help bring about political change. They also believe the record number will put pressure on the pro-government camp, as most newly registered voters are likely to favour pro-democracy candidates during the next District Council election in November and next year's Legislative Council election. According to the Constitutional Affairs Bureau, the 310,000 forms received during the campaign from June 1 to July 16 comprised new applications for registration and notification of change of address by registered electors. Among the 193,000 processed forms, 95,000 were for new registrations and 98,000 for updating of addresses, a bureau spokesman said yesterday. The figure compares with 165,000 registration forms received in the month-long drive before the last District Council elections in 1999, and 445,000 received in a two-month campaign before the Legislative Council elections in 2000. But the spokesman would not be drawn on whether the huge increase was due to the recent democracy campaigns. 'There are many reasons why a citizen wants to register as a voter,' he said. However, Li Pang-kwong, a political analyst at Lingnan University, said after the mass march on July 1, the public had an 'unprecedented' level of interest in Hong Kong's political development. 'During the rallies, organisers appealed to participants to register as voters. Many young people who joined the protests may have been given the impetus and awareness to register,' Professor Li said, adding that the pro-government camp might feel threatened by the large number of registrations. Echoing his views, Ma Ngok, assistant professor of social science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, predicted that the rallies' effect on the next District Council and the Legco elections would not die down as discussion on the Article 23 legislation would continue into the new legislative year. As of May last year, there were more than 2.9 million registered voters in Hong Kong.