Monday, 5 December 2011

Skirting the Rules

Last month's elections in Hong Kong resulted in the pan-democrats losing big time, but since then there have been allegations that a number of votes were rigged.

And now the Independent Commission Against Corruption has arrested 22 people who are charged with engaging in corrupt conduct at an election.

The 13 men and nine women aged 21 to 57 allegedly provided false information to election officers by claiming a flat in Yin Chong Street in Mongkok as their residential address. Twenty of them voted in the district council elections that were held on November 6.

This case is crucial not only to stop voter rigging, but also this neighbourhood was where non-affiliated Edward Leung Wai-kuen beat Lam Kin-man of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood by two votes -- 1,045 to 1,043.

Last week Lam lodged a complaint to the ICAC about suspected voter rigging after the media did a number of stories of cases where voters wrote down addresses they claimed to lived in and it turned out the building didn't even have that floor or was a building someone wouldn't live in like a movie theatre.

Lam said he was pleased with the agency's swift action. "My legal advice is that if there is clear evidence that vote-planting has been involved, I can apply to the court to declare the results of the election void," he said Sunday night.

Leung declined to comment on whether he supported a re-run of the election, but was not scared of being drawn back into the saga.

The Democratic Party has found 798 suspicious voter registrations in the district council elections. A number of the cases involved a suspiciously large number of electors registering with the same address or voters whose registered addresses were outside their constituencies.

For example there were 13 electors with seven surnames registered at a flat in Mei Foo Sun Chuen as their residence.

Why does the election office not scrutinize the registration of voters properly? Hong Kong Identification Cards do not list the person's address because people change their addresses frequently here, but why not have them register in person and show proof of address with recent bills or cross check with the tax office?

Yes it's tedious, but that's how one runs a fair election. When people make a mockery of the system how would that give confidence in the public that democracy works?

It just shows the government is not taking the elections seriously, thus showing its stance on universal suffrage by 2017...

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