Monday, 7 November 2011

Voting for More Say

I am ashamed to say I didn't get my act together to register for the district council elections that happened in Hong Kong yesterday.

Many months ago I saw an ad on a bus telling people to register to vote and then never saw it again to remind me. By the time I remembered, it was too late to register.

Nevertheless I am very pleased to find that a record 1.2 million people came out to vote, 41.4 percent of the 2.9 million eligible to cast a ballot.

The turnout compares with 38.8 percent in the last election in 2007 and 44.06 percent in 2003 when there were nearly 500,000 less voters.

The day before the election a relative of mine claimed the government purposely didn't have many publicity campaigns about the elections saying it hoped fewer people would turn out. "They have tactics like changing the address of the polling stations or not even sending voter registration cards on time," he said.

He said the government was purposely playing down the election in the hopes that with less people voting there would be fewer stakeholders to deal with.

And he was right about the sly tactics. In the end it was reported almost half a million people encountered polling stations that had moved without much prior notice, including one that moved to another school on a hill making it harder for elderly voters to make it up there. Others found their designated polling stations were moved much further from where they lived, having to walk 20 to 30 minutes. Others showed up only to find they went to the wrong location.

If the government is purposely making it difficult for people to vote it is a pathetic sign it is not interested in universal suffrage. In the meantime the public is becoming more interested in local politics and determined to have their voices heard even more, hence the strong turnout.

Hopefully this sends a message to both the authorities and the district councillors they both need to work hard and together to give Hong Kong people not just want they want, but what's best for the city and their future.

1 comment:

  1. over 40% popular vote is good even by north american standard. most of our election statistics are less than that.