Registration and Electoral Office follows up media reports on suspected false registered addresses of electors

     A spokesman for the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) said today (August 28) that the REO has followed up on today's news reports on electors' suspected false registered addresses. According to preliminary information gathered thus far, there is no prima facie evidence that vote-rigging or provision of false information is involved.

     "The REO contacted some of the electors mentioned in the news report this morning and confirmed that three of them live in a flat one floor below the flat mentioned in the news report. The REO believed that its staff had misinterpreted the information provided by the electors when inputting their registered addresses, which led to the deviation. The REO will correct it as soon as possible,ˇ¨ the spokesman said.

     "The REO is also following up on the cases of the two other electors. According to REO's record, the two electors had used the address mentioned in the news report as their registered address since they registered as electors in 1995. Electoral mails sent to the two electors during the previous elections have never been returned undelivered. Also, no complaint on the registered address concerned was received during the last District Council Election. As the REO does not have the two electorsˇ¦ contact information other than their registered address, the REO will issue inquiry letters to them in accordance with the electoral legislation. If they do not report their updated registered address by the statutory deadline for updating registration particulars next year, their names will be deleted from the register of electors,ˇ¨ he said.

     The spokesman emphasised that the REO has been making every effort to ensure that information on the registers of electors is accurate.

     To enhance the accuracy of the information on the registers of electors, the REO has implemented a series of enhanced checking measures after the 2011 District Council Election and widened the extent of checking. The checking measures include random sample checks, checking those cases involving an address with over a certain number of registered electors or more than a certain number of surnames, data cross-matching exercise with the Housing Department and the Housing Society on residency records, follow-up of undelivered electoral mails and follow-up of the complaints relating to suspected false registered addresses in the 2011 District Council Election.

     "Inquiry process is being conducted by the REO on new cases involving an address with over a certain number of registered electors or more than a certain number of surnames contained in the 2012 final registers of electors. The REO will issue inquiry letters to the electors requesting them to confirm whether they live at their registered address. If they do not respond to the letters, the REO will, in accordance with the relevant electoral laws, remove the names of these electors from the registers of electors next year. Suspected false registered addresses will also be referred to the law enforcement agencies for follow-up action and investigation.

     "Records show that cases involving an address with over a certain number of registered electors or more than a certain number of surnames existed mainly because electors did not update their addresses timely after they had moved home. More often than not, false registration of address is not involved," he added.

     "If suspected address is found during processing of applications for registration as electors or update of registration particulars, the REO will issue a written enquiry to the applicant to ask for further information or address proof. If the applicant fails to provide the required information by the deadline, or the information provided is not accepted, the REO can decide not to consider the application further."

Ends/Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Issued at HKT 23:27