The Government today (November 26) issued the Consultation Document on Enhancement of Voter Registration System to collect views from the public with a view to drawing up measures to enhance the voter registration system.
In view of recent public concerns about matters relating to voter registration, the Government has embarked on a review of the existing voter registration system and the relevant arrangements and sought the preliminary views of Legislative Council (LegCo) Members on the directions of the review at a special meeting of the LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs in late September 2015. The Government has since drawn up a series of proposed measures and is now inviting the public to give their comments.
The proposed measures to enhance the voter registration system are:
Voter registration and checking arrangements
(a) to advance the statutory deadline for change of registration particulars to a date before the publication of the provisional registers and omissions lists, and align it with the statutory deadline for new registrations;
(b) to change to use ordinary surface mail for all inquiries and notifications;
(c) to further improve the checking arrangements and strengthen verification of address information with other government departments;
Penalties on voter registration offences
(d) to raise the penalties for making false statements in voter registration from the current maximum penalties of a fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for six months to a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment of two years in order to enhance the deterrent effect;
Review of the objection mechanism
(e) to specify in the law that the burden of proof rests on the objector and that unless the evidence provided by the objector is accepted by the Revising Officer, the registration of the elector being objected to shall stand;
(f) to specify in the law that the objector is required to appear at the hearings conducted by the Revising Officer;
(g) upon the Registration and Electoral Office (REO)'s receipt of the notices of objection, to upload the information of the objection cases to the REO's website, including the dates and time of hearings and the names of the objectors and the electors being objected to;
(h) to process indubitable objection cases through the REO's seeking the approval of the Revising Officer in writing to correct the particulars of the electors concerned without the need of a hearing by the Revising Officer;
Time limit for processing objection cases
(i) to study whether to extend the time limit for the Revising Officer to conduct hearings, including reserving more time for the REO and the Revising Officer to process the objection cases and to conduct hearings and reviews; and
(j) to require applicants to submit address proof when submitting applications for new registrations or change of registration particulars to facilitate the verification of the electors' identities. As regards the design of the application form for voter registration, requiring electors to fill in some useful information (e.g., the elector's previous registered address for application for change of address) to facilitate the verification process would also be considered.
The public is invited to give their views on the above proposals. After carefully considering all the views received, the Government will formulate the improvement measures for enhancing the voter registration system.
The Consultation Document is available at the Public Enquiry Service Centres of District Offices and on the website of the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (www.cmab.gov.hk). Views can be submitted by mail, facsimile or email on or before January 8, 2016. Details are as follows:
Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau
12/F, East Wing, Central Government Offices
2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong
Fax number: 2840 1976
Email address: email@example.com
Ends/Thursday, November 26, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:00