Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Sunday the SAR government has not set a voter turnout target for today’s Legislative Council polls, but again urged people to cast their vote in what she called a “very meaningful” election after Beijing overhauled the city’s electoral system.
Polling stations opened at 8.30 am, with Lam among the first to cast her ballot. Voting will continue until 10.30pm.
Speaking outside a polling station in Mid-Levels, Lam urged people to vote, but reiterated that her administration had not set a target for turnout and neither had the central government.
“I don’t have any particular expectation. But I would say that the government has not set any target for voter turnout rate, not for this election, not for previous elections, because there is a combination of factors that will affect voter turnout rate in any election,” she said.
“I’m not aware of any targets on the voter turnout have been set by the central government and I doubt very much that any responsible institution will set any target for voter turnout rate.”
The Chief Executive said all 630 polling stations across the territory had been running smoothly on Sunday morning, adding that around 40,000 staff and 10,000 law enforcement officers would be deployed for the polling day.
"Of course as the Chief Executive, I am responsible and accountable for the elections in a fair, open, honest manner."
"On top of that, in this particular election I have set targets that we should be as efficient as possible, for example in trying to announce the election results as early as possible, and trying to accommodate the interests of voters," she said.
Lam said another target was "to ensure 'patriots administering Hong Kong', and I think that objective has been met through the design of the Candidate Eligibility Review Committee. All of the 153 candidates could meet this requirement and you can see that they actually come from a very diverse background with very different opinions on a range of issues."
"And finally, perhaps unlike previous elections, because this is the first major LegCo Election after improvements to the electoral system, I and my colleagues have been going all out to explain the basis, the rationale and the merits of this electoral system," she said.
"I think these three objectives will guide how we see this particular election, rather than the voter turnout rate."
The CE said she was looking forward to working with 90 new lawmakers from January 1, to bring a better future for Hong Kong.