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EAC stresses secrecy of votes

    The chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission, Mr Justice Pang Kin-kee, said today (March 13) that the commission was confident that there were sufficient legal provisions to safeguard the secrecy of voting in the Chief Executive election.

     Speaking at a press briefing, he said that in accordance with the law, the commission would make rigorous voting arrangements properly to assure electors that they could cast their votes in secrecy.

     He noted that according to the Chief Executive Ordinance (Cap. 569), the votes should be cast by secret ballot. He also noted that the Electoral Procedure (Chief Executive Election) Regulation (Cap. 541) required that no number should be printed on a ballot paper, and no record should be made of the particular ballot paper issued to an elector.

     He said no one should be worried that individual elector could be identified from the ballot papers they had cast.

     "After an elector is issued a ballot paper, he can mark the ballot paper inside the voting compartment alone. He should then fold the ballot paper inwards before dropping it into the ballot box. This can further guarantee that other people cannot see the choice that an elector has marked on his ballot paper," Mr Justice Pang said.

     "Electors can choose to drop their ballot papers into one of the two adjacent ballot boxes in the polling station. Each ballot box is spacious enough so that the ballot papers will not be stacked in order."

     Mr Justice Pang said that electors could choose to cast their votes at any time within the appointed polling hours.
     After the close of the poll, the ballot boxes will be sealed before they are delivered to the counting station under the escort of police officers and candidates or their agents. The ballot papers will be mixed when they are poured out of the ballot boxes by the Returning Officer.

     Reporters and members of the public will be allowed to observe the opening of the ballot boxes and the counting of vote in the counting station.

     The law stipulates that if a ballot paper contains any writing or mark by which the elector can possibly be identified, it will be invalid and not counted.

     All ballot papers will be sealed in packets after the election result has been declared, and will be destroyed in accordance with relevant regulations.

     "We will do all we can to make proper voting arrangements, and we are confident that the election will be conducted in a fair, open, and honest manner," Mr Justice Pang said.

Ends/Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Issued at HKT 19:33


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