Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan Wai-yip and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Miss Adeline Wong, in the Legislative Council today (June 30):
Recently, I have received a large number of complaints from members of the public pointing out that in the Legislative Council (LegCo) By-election held on May 16 this year, the locations of quite a number of polling stations were far away from those set up in the 2008 LegCo Election for the same districts. Some polling stations were even set up at the end of slopes, causing great inconvenience to the elderly and persons with disabilities. Moreover, on the day of the By-election, quite a number of electors called the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) to enquire about the locations of the polling stations, but they were not able to contact any staff. Even when some members of the public made their enquiries by leaving telephone messages, REO staff failed to return call before 10.30pm that night. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
(a) the polling stations for the 2010 LegCo By-election which replaced those for the 2008 LegCo Election, and list in table form by geographical constituency, the serial numbers of such polling stations and the names of the District Council districts in which they were located; the reasons for their being chosen as the polling stations for the 2010 By-election, as well as the locations of the polling stations for the 2008 LegCo Election which had been replaced, and the reasons for their not being chosen as the polling stations for the 2010 By-election; and
(b) the number of enquiries received by REO between May 14 and 16 this year regarding the locations of the polling stations and, among such enquiries, the respective numbers of those made through telephone messages and those replied by REO on or before May 16, as well as the reasons for REO failing to reply some of such enquiries before the closing time of the aforesaid By-election?
(a) In the 2010 Legislative Council (LegCo) By-election, polling stations were not set up at some of the venues where polling stations were set up in the 2008 LegCo Election mainly because the venues concerned were not available or the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) had identified locations which are more convenient or accessible to persons with disabilities in the districts concerned. For venues not available for use again in the By-election, the REO set up alternative polling stations at other suitable locations nearby or allocated the electors concerned to other polling stations in the vicinity for voting. The relevant information is at the Annex.
(b) According to the classification of telephone enquiries by the REO for the 2010 LegCo By-election, enquiries concerning the locations of the polling stations are classified under the category of the locations of polling station, receipt of poll cards and polling arrangement.
The REO received a total of 2,832 telephone enquiries in the above category, including 350 voice mails, on May 14 and 15, 2010. Three hundred and twenty-two of the voice mails provided clear and complete telephone numbers and the REO staff had replied to the relevant enquiries accordingly by noon on May 16, 2010. For the remaining 28 voice mails, they either left incorrect telephone numbers or did not leave any contact numbers, and thus the REO was not able to contact the callers.
In order to handle the large number of telephone enquiries on the polling day of the By-election, the REO deployed a significant number of staff to answer telephone enquiries. The REO and the 1823 Call Centre (Note) of the Government received 22,384 and 3,123 telephone enquiries in the above category respectively from 7am to 10.30pm on May 16, 2010. According to the records of the telephone system, the REO and the 1823 Call Centre had answered all telephone calls received on May 16, 2010 and there was no voice mail.
Note: If the REO Hotline was fully engaged, any further incoming calls would be forwarded to the 1823 Call Centre of the Government. Staff of the Call Centre would handle the general enquiries immediately. For individual enquiries which could not be answered by the Call Centre, they would be referred to the REO for following up.
Ends/Wednesday, June 30, 2010