No timetable yet on cross-border voting plan: govt - RTHK
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No timetable yet on cross-border voting plan: govt

2020-11-27 HKT 19:00
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  • No timetable yet on cross-border voting plan: govt
The secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs said on Friday there's still no timetable yet when a plan allowing Hong Kong residents outside of the territory to vote in local elections will be implemented.

Erick Tsang said while the aim is to put the arrangement in place in time for next year's Legco elections, a feasibility study has to be completed first.

"If we can do it faster, of course we will try to roll it out faster... But we have to study the feasibility, whether it's legally okay, operationally feasible," he told reporters at a press conference.

Tsang said officials need to look into various issues, such as transporting ballot papers, vote counting and law enforcement, to ensure the elections are conducted in a fair, open and honest manner.

The pro-Beijing camp has long called for allowing Hongkongers staying on the mainland to vote, especially after Covid-19 pandemic made travelling difficult. But critics have voiced concerns about fraud and enforcement.

Last month, Tsang said the ICAC would be able to tackle any electoral fraud on the mainland, only to have the anti-graft body clarifying hours later that it doesn't have such enforcement powers. The Electoral Affairs Commission has also raised concerns about the cross-border voting proposal, saying it comes with various risks.

Meanwhile, Tsang said his bureau is working to amend election laws to let disabled and elderly people, as well as pregnant women, jump the queue on election days. Officials will consult Legco when the proposals are ready, he said.