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LCQ11: Advance polling arrangements

Following is a question by the Hon Eric Li and a reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (May 9):


When presenting the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 1999 to this Council, the Administration put forward a proposal to introduce "advance polling" arrangements, which was subsequently withdrawn. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it plans to introduce advance polling arrangements in the next Legislative Council general election; and

(b) of the feasible proposals for advance polling being considered and the timing for presenting them to this Council?


Madam President,

As pointed out in the question, we proposed to introduce advance polling for the 2000 Legislative Council election in the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 1999. The proposal was to specify a date for holding an advance poll before the general polling day so that electors may apply for voting on the advance polling day if they wish to do so. This proposal was subsequently withdrawn in view of the concerns of Members during the scrutiny of the Bill that the release of results of exit polls conducted on the advance polling day might influence electors' choice on the general polling day. Therefore, the advance polling day proposal was not implemented in the 2000 Legislative Council election.

The election of the third term Legislative Council will be held in 2004. Before we proceed to organize this election, we will consider what improvement measures to our electoral arrangements should be introduced. Advance polling day is one of the many improvement measures we will consider. Any new measures proposed by the Administration will be submitted to the Legislative Council for Members' consideration. The relevant amendments to the Legislative Council Ordinance will have to be passed by the Legislative Council in mid 2003 before they can be implemented in the 2004 Legislative Council election.

End/Wednesday, May 9, 2001