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Sunday, Dec 05, 2021

Shorter voting hours for 2021 LegCo election

The voting hours of the 2021 LegCo election to be held on December 19 will be shortened by one hour, according to the guidelines released by the Electoral Affairs Commission on Monday.
There will be a total of 620 voting stations set up across 10 geographical constituencies on voting day. The voting hours will be shortened for one hour, with the starting time for 8.30am and closing at 10.30pm - a total of 14 hours.

The guideline wrote that an electronic poll register system will be adopted for issuing ballot papers at polling stations, with voters no longer needed to queue up accordingly to the English alphabet contained in their Hong Kong identity card number.

A special queue will also be set up for the elderly and those with mobility issues.

The Commission said, among the 620 voting stations, one will be set up at the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre. However, there will be no arrangements for those under home quarantine and hotel quarantine to leave the premises to vote.

Meanwhile, another voting station will be set up at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre to facilitate the voting for the Election Committee Subsector, which will elect 40 of the 90 seats in the new term of the LegCo.

Each Election Committee member must vote for exactly 40 candidates, which will be verified by an Optical Mark Recognition machine installed in the polling station. The Commission stressed that the machine will not record and count what choices are marked on electors’ ballot papers, and will only make sure that 40 candidates were chosen.

Electoral Affairs Commission chairman Barnabas Fung Wah said the Commission has yet to receive any word from the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau on setting up border polling booths for the election.

Fung said the Commission will make arrangements accordingly if a decision is made by authorities, adding that the setting up of border polling booths is not a decision to be made solely by the SAR government.

When asked if voters will have to use the LeaveHomeSafe contact tracing app when entering the polling stations, Fung said the Commission will carefully study the matter, stressing the Commission will do its utmost to ensure that citizens’ voting rights are not undermined.
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