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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

The Electoral Affairs Commission today said vote counting is conducted in an open and transparent environment, under public scrutiny.

In response to media enquiries about counting for the 2019 District Council election, the commission noted, once the poll closes, candidates, their election agents and polling agents may stay in the polling station to observe the process of locking the ballot boxes, and the conversion of polling stations into counting stations.

They can observe the entire counting process at the counting station, which includes the breaking of seals on the ballot boxes, the sorting, separation and counting of ballot papers, the counting of votes recorded on the valid ballot papers and the determination by Presiding Officers on the validity of questionable ballot papers.

They may also copy what is recorded on the ballot paper account if needed.

Members of the public and reporters are also able to watch the counting process at designated areas inside the counting stations.

According to the Electoral Affairs Commission (Electoral Procedure) (District Councils) Regulation, a Presiding Officer may decide whether a recount of the counting stations’ votes is necessary.

If a candidate or his/her agent requests a recount, such a request shall be made to the Presiding Officer who will decide whether it should be acceded to.

If the officer decides that such a recount is reasonable in the circumstances, a recount will be conducted.

The commission reiterated that it is an independent, apolitical and impartial body established under the Electoral Affairs Commission Ordinance, responsible for organising and supervising public elections in an open, fair and honest manner.

If anyone thinks that the election is interfered with by corrupt or illegal conduct, or there is a material irregularity, candidates and the relevant constituency’s electors can make election petitions to query the result, which will be determined by the court.

The commission will review various electoral arrangements and a report will be submitted to the Chief Executive within the next three months.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News