The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, today (June 1) called on eligible persons especially young people to sign up as electors in time so that they could cast their votes in the District Council (DC) elections to be held later this year and the Legislative Council election in 2004.
Speaking at the launch of a six-week voter registration campaign, Mr Lam said that young people of the present generation enjoyed more civic rights than those during his student days.
He said that when he was 18, he did not have the right to be registered as an elector and the only election that he could take part in was the student union election.
Mr Lam hoped that eligible young people would grasp this opportunity, which allowed them to participate in public affairs.
He urged them to make a start by filling out a registration form today and returning it to the Registration and Electoral Office (REO).
On the voter registration campaign, Mr Lam said that it was aimed at bringing in as many valid applications for voter registration and updating the addresses of registered electors as possible.
The campaign was especially targetted at young people aged 18 to 25.
According to the latest final voter register published in May 2002 for the Legislative Council geographical constituencies and the District Council constituencies, the registration rates for the 18 to 20 age group and the 21 to 25 age group were only 19 per cent and 52 per cent respectively.
Mr Lam said that the 2003 DC elections would be held on November 23. The deadline for eligible electors to apply for registration as electors was July 16, 2003.
Registered electors had to inform the REO of their updated residential addresses on or before August 29, 2003.
He said that a range of promotion activities would be organised and registration teams and/or counters would be available on the spot to facilitate eligible electors to sign up as electors or registered electors to update their residential addresses.
These activities included outdoor radio disc jockey shows and mini-concerts, setting up registration counters at major Registration of Persons Offices and popular locations such as Mass Transit Railway stations and shopping centres.
Voter registration assistants would also conduct household visits to newly developed residential areas, such as Tseung Kwan O, Tung Chung, Tin Shui Wai and Aldrich Bay.
He said that a letter containing campaign messages was being sent to all households, which had moved into new private developments completed after the last major voter registration campaign in 2000.
The Government would give out well-designed Octopus cardholders and discount book coupons as souvenir gifts to newly registered electors and registered electors who had updated their address records with the REO from June 1 onwards, Mr Lam said.
He added that the campaign would be publicised through the various channels including TV and radio Announcements of Public Interest (APIs), advertisements in major MTR stations, on bus and taxi bodies and banners.
A dedicated website, "http://www.voterregistration.gov.hk" with hyperlinks to Government websites and the electronic bulletin boards of six tertiary institutions, had also been set up, Mr Lam said.
End/Sunday, June 1, 2003