Electors urged to vote in Legislative Council General Election today (with photos)
The Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), Mr Justice Barnabas Fung Wah, called on registered electors to exercise their civil rights to vote in the 2021 Legislative Council General Election (LCGE) today (December 19).
Mr Justice Fung reminded electors to bring the original of their Hong Kong identity card to the polling station specified on the poll card to vote after visiting the polling station at Jockey Club Government Secondary School this morning.
He said, "In accordance with the law, only registered electors on the 2021 final registers of electors are eligible to vote in this LCGE. Electors who have yet to receive the poll card should confirm their registration status and check the polling station to which they are allocated via the Online Voter Information Enquiry System (www.voterinfo.gov.hk) or call the hotline of the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) (2891 1001). Electors are reminded that they may vote only at the polling station allocated to them; and the polling station allocated to them in this election may be different from those in the past. Thus, electors should carefully read the name and address of the polling station on the poll card."
"The Electronic Poll Register (EPR) system is used for the first time on a large scale to issue ballot papers at polling stations in this election. An elector must show his/her Hong Kong identity card and temporarily pull his/her mask aside at the ballot paper issuing desk as instructed. The polling staff will scan the elector's Hong Kong identity card with the tablet camera of the EPR system and issue ballot paper(s). The elector can check his/her name, partial Hong Kong identity card number and type(s) of ballot paper(s) issued to him/her as shown on the tablet on the ballot paper issuing desk during the issuance process.
"As the former District Council (Second) functional constituency (FC) has been deleted, the majority of the registered electors will only have one vote in the geographical constituency (GC) election in this LCGE, which is different from the 'one-person-two-votes' arrangement in the past. In other words, most of the registered electors will only be issued with one ballot paper for the relevant GC."
As in the past electoral arrangement, electors can cast all the votes which he/she is entitled to cast at the same polling station. The electors of GCs must use the chop provided by the polling station to stamp a tick in the circle opposite the name of the candidate of their choice on the ballot paper inside a voting compartment, and then insert the GC ballot paper into the blue ballot box with the marked side facing down. As for FCs, an elector or authorised representative of corporate electors should insert the FC ballot paper into the red ballot box with the marked side facing down.
The electors of the Election Committee constituency (ECC) will cast all the votes which he/she is entitled to cast at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). ECC electors must use the black pen provided by the polling station to fill in the oval next to the name of each chosen candidate on the ECC ballot paper when voting. He said, "ECC electors are encouraged to use the optical mark recognition (OMR) machines set up in the polling station at the HKCEC to make sure that the number of candidates marked on their ballot paper is 40 before inserting it into an envelope provided by the polling station and putting the envelope with the ballot paper into the white ballot box. I must emphasise that the OMR machines will never record or count electors' choices marked on their ballot papers."
Introduction booklets on candidates printed by the REO are available at all polling stations for reference by electors.
"On the other hand, two queues will be set up at the polling station, one special queue for persons in need including persons who are aged 70 or above, pregnant women and persons who have difficulties in standing for a long time to queue due to their physical condition, while another one will be for other electors. The Presiding Officers will flexibly deploy the ballot paper issuing desks, with a view to reducing the overall waiting time."
In response to the COVID-19, various disease prevention measures have been implemented in the polling stations, which include requiring all polling staff to wear surgical masks; not allowing staff with fever symptoms to perform election duties; requiring candidates, their agents and electors to wear their own masks, use hand sanitiser and have their body temperature checked before entering polling stations; an elector with fever symptoms will be directed to a special voting compartment which will be disinfected by staff after each use in the polling station to vote; and ensuring that electors maintain social distancing.
"We try to strike a balance between voting rights and disease prevention. As such, all electors are not required to use the 'LeaveHomeSafe' mobile application or other alternative measures when entering polling stations to cast their vote(s). A notice will be posted at the buildings where polling stations are located to remind electors that if they enter the relevant buildings solely to vote, they do not need to use the 'LeaveHomeSafe' mobile application," Mr Justice Fung said.
Polls will be conducted for all constituencies in which there are contested elections. There are 153 candidates contesting a total of 90 seats. About 630 ordinary polling stations, not more than 24 dedicated polling stations, three polling stations at Heung Yuen Wai, Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau boundary control points, as well as the polling station at the Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre (PBQC) are open for about 4.47 million registered electors to cast their votes. The polling hours for the ordinary polling stations and the dedicated polling stations set up at police stations will be from 8.30am to 10.30pm. For the dedicated polling stations set up at penal institutions, for security reasons, the polling hours will be from 9am to 4pm.
As at 2.30pm, 745 212 electors have voted, bringing the accumulative turnout rate to 16.66 per cent.
After the close of poll, the polling stations (except for small polling stations, dedicated polling stations, the ECC polling station and the polling station at the PBQC) will be designated as counting stations for the counting of GC votes. The ballot boxes of all FCs and the ECC will be delivered to the central counting station at the HKCEC for counting.
All election results will be announced at the media centre in the central counting station. Members of the public could observe the counting process at the designated area of the media centre. Given that social distancing should be maintained among the people in the venue, there will be about 470 seats in the public gallery. Admission to the public gallery will be opened from 9.45pm tonight on a first come, first served basis. To facilitate admission control, members of the public admitted to the public gallery will be required to wear a wristband provided by the REO for identification purpose. Disease prevention measures will also be implemented in the central counting station, including requiring everyone to wear a mask, use hand sanitiser and have their body temperature checked.
"Except the exempted persons (i.e. persons who are aged below 12 or aged 65 or above, and those with disabilities that render use of the 'LeaveHomeSafe' mobile application difficult), every candidate, agent and the public who observe the count entering the counting stations, the central counting station and its media centre must use the 'LeaveHomeSafe' mobile application as in general they will stay there for a relatively long period of time. The exempted persons are required to complete a record form to register their names, the first four digits or letters of their identification documents, their contact numbers and the date and time of their visits before entering the counting stations."
EAC members Mr Arthur Luk, SC, and Professor Daniel Shek inspected a ballot paper sorting station and a dedicated polling station respectively today to see for themselves how electoral activities were being conducted.
The REO's hotline at 2891 1001 will be in service until 11pm to answer enquiries relating to the election. A complaints hotline at 2827 7251 will also operate until 11pm to handle complaints about breaches of electoral rules and guidelines.
Hourly voter turnouts and election results will be available on the election website (www.elections.gov.hk).
Ends/Sunday, December 19, 2021
Issued at HKT 16:00
Issued at HKT 16:00