Hong Kong residents living on the mainland will have to sign up online from Wednesday if they want to vote in the Legislative Council elections next month, so they can cast their ballots at one of the polling stations set up at the border.
The government made the announcement as it unveiled on Monday that the Lo Wu, Heung Yuen Wai and Futian border control points will be used as polling stations to accommodate a total of 111,000 voters on December 19.
A government spokesman said the one-off arrangement is applicable for voters in geographical and functional constituencies only, and not the new election committee constituency.
Registration for the election-day arrangement is open during office hours between December 1 and 8.
To sign up, eligible voters must provide their Chinese and English names, e-mail address, a Hong Kong or mainland phone number that can receive text messages, their home return permit number and their ordinary address on the mainland.
They also have to indicate which station they will go to and pick a time slot.
Residents can check whether they're eligible as voters on the government's website, www.voterinfo.gov.hk.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang said while the law states that only those who "ordinarily resides in Hong Kong" are eligible to vote, the matter has no clear-cut answers and a number of factors should be considered.
"What's the reason [the person] is, for the time being, not in Hong Kong? How long he's been absent in Hong Kong, whether he still has a close connection with Hong Kong... so, you just can't say that for those voters who're now in the mainland for various reasons, they cannot be regarded as ordinarily residing in Hong Kong," he said.
On election day, these voters have to bring with them a registration confirmation, a mainland green health code, a negative Covid-19 nucleic acid test, their home return permit and Hong Kong identity card.
Tsang said voters must immediately return to the mainland after casting their ballots, or they won't be allowed to skip quarantine.
The minister said the polling stations at the border will be turned into vote-counting stations immediately after polling ends, and only candidates and their agents – but not the public or the media – will be allowed to observe the vote-counting process there.
Last updated: 2021-11-29 HKT 18:25