A pool of 460,000 votes should be a big draw for candidates in a hotly contested election. But our hopefuls in the September Legco polls apparently think otherwise. We are talking about the English speakers who have been left out in a predominantly Chinese-only canvassing culture in the city. Just like the other 2.7 million voters, they are entitled to scrutinise the candidates' platforms and decide whom to support. But they have been denied the access to campaign materials because they are mainly available in a language they do not understand. There are good reasons why foreigners feel detached from the polls. A walk in the street can easily find banners and posters targeting Chinese readers only. Even for some who are mindful of the minority's language needs, their publicity contains nothing more than short slogans written in English. Similar problems have been found when our reporters ploughed through the campaign literature. Only half of the 74 list of candidates running for the geographical constituencies and the citywide "super seats" have provided English materials to voters. The situation is, ironically, already an improvement compared with previous polls in which only 12 of the 53 tickets contesting in the geographical polls had bilingual materials. Voters could be excused for staying away from the ballot box if they feel alienated. At stake is more than just the voter turnout and the right to information. Hong Kong prides itself on being an international city well versed in both Chinese and English. But increasingly, the latter risks being marginalised when the government and district councils do not set a good example in providing information in two languages, even though both are officially recognised by the Basic Law. If those who may be elected do not hold themselves accountable to the people they represent, there is every reason to be concerned about whether they will keep a close watch on the government in defending a bilingual environment, upon which Hong Kong's continued success is built.