Election body voices concern on mainland voting plan - RTHK
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Election body voices concern on mainland voting plan

2020-10-12 HKT 17:33
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  • The EAC says there would be a lot of questions to be addressed if the government wants to let people who live outside Hong Kong vote in future Legco elections. File photo: RTHK
    The EAC says there would be a lot of questions to be addressed if the government wants to let people who live outside Hong Kong vote in future Legco elections. File photo: RTHK
Damon Pang reports
Election officials warned on Monday that any move by the government to allow Hongkongers outside of the territory to vote in the SAR's polls would throw up a lot of questions, pointing out that it has no experience in conducting elections elsewhere.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam was reportedly set to announce in her now scrapped Policy Address on Wednesday that the government would let Hong Kong permanent residents living in the Greater Bay, or other mainland cities, vote there on election days.

But releasing details of a report to the CE, the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) said it advised the government it would have to tackle numerous issues if it went ahead with such a plan, including the risks involved in transporting ballots and the application and enforcement of Hong Kong election laws.

"If voting outside Hong Kong is to be implemented, a suitable monitoring mechanism should be in place to ensure that the credibility of the election would not be compromised. As to the legal aspect, the government must carefully consider the applicability and enforcement of the subsisting electoral law in places outside Hong Kong so that the issue of law enforcement abroad can be addressed," it said.

The EAC said being as it has "no experience in conducting the poll abroad", it would have to rely on government departments familiar with the situation and operations elsewhere for co-ordination and implementation.

It added that if postal votes come in from outside Hong Kong, the body would not be able to verify the identity of the voters.

Meanwhile, the election officials also had a warning regarding the primary polls pro-democracy groups held in July to decide their candidates for Legco elections they expected would be held last month. Chief Executive Carrie Lam later scrapped the polls citing the pandemic, and elections could now be held next September instead.

The EAC said "there is no mechanism of any so-called 'primary election(s)' under the electoral system in Hong Kong", and the camp's activities had caused a lot concern among the public.

"There are views in society that some electors will be misled by those 'primary elections' involving massive electors and candidates, and wrongly perceive them as part of the public election, causing confusion and affecting the outcome of the election."

The EAC said the government should seriously look into the matter and consider whether to "control or restrict such activities".