The following is issued on behalf of the Electoral Affairs Commission:
A total of 39 polling stations across Hong Kong are open from 7.30am to 10.30pm today (May 1) for some 47,000 registered voters to cast their votes in the contested by-elections of nine Election Committee (EC) subsectors.
The Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), Mr Justice Woo Kwok-hing, called on voters concerned to go to the polls as early as possible.
Speaking after inspecting the electoral arrangements at a polling station in Sai Tso Wan Neighbourhood Community Centre, Mr Justice Woo said that depending on the number of vacancies available in their respective subsectors, voters would be required to choose from one to three candidates on their ballot papers.
"But don't mark more votes than is required because this will make the ballot invalid," Mr Justice Woo said.
He said voters should refer to the instructions printed on the ballot paper.
"It bears a note specifying the maximum number of candidate or candidates they could vote for."
Mr Justice Woo and the other two members of the commission, Dr Elizabeth Shing and Mr Lawrence Lok, will separately inspect different polling stations to see and supervise electoral activities across the territory.
Voters who do not have a poll card in hand may call the election hotline ? 2891 1001 ? to enquire about which polling station to visit. The hotline has 30 telephone lines in operation until 11pm tonight.
The commission has also set up a complaint hotline, 2827 7251, to receive public complaints on breaches of electoral guidelines. Its service hours will extend until the close of polls at 10.30pm.
Mr Justice Woo reminded registered voters concerned not to use mobile phones or undertake any photographing inside a polling station.
"This is to ensure secrecy of the ballot, and the integrity and fairness of an election," he said.
By-elections are being held to fill vacancies in the Election Committee, which will elect a new Chief Executive on July 10.
Forty candidates are running for the 15 seats in the nine contested subsectors - Textiles and Garment, Accountancy, Architectural, Surveying and Planning, Chinese Medicine, Engineering, Higher Education, Legal, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Hong Kong and Kowloon District Councils.
Twelve candidates have been elected unopposed in the remaining seven subsectors, which are Finance, Import and Export, Industrial (First), Industrial (Second), Labour, Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and Heung Yee Kuk.
Six more vacancies in the Religious Subsector have been filled by supplementary nominations.
Ends/Sunday, May 1, 2005