LCQ17: Polling hours in overseas countries
Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau Wai-hing and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (October 15):
On the 26th of last month, the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) withdrew its previous decision to shorten the polling hours for the forthcoming District Council Elections. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council whether they know:
(a) if the EAC has gathered information on the polling hours for elections held in foreign countries; if so, of the details;
(b) if the polling hours in Hong Kong are the longest, compared to those for the countries mentioned in the reply to (a) above; and
(c) the supporting facilities put in place in the countries with shorter polling hours than those in Hong Kong to facilitate the voting of electors?
Madam President :
In considering whether to shorten the polling hours for the 2003 District Council election, the Electoral Affairs Commission has gathered information on polling hours in a number of overseas countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. The polling hours for elections at various levels in the great majority of these countries range from 10 to 13 hours. The only exception is United Kingdom where polling stations are open for 15 hours.
In Hong Kong, the polling hours for District Council election are from 7.30am to 10.30pm, totalling 15 hours. This length is longer than the polling hours in most of the countries mentioned above, and is the same as that in the United Kingdom.
Singapore has no special arrangements to facilitate electors to vote. All the other countries mentioned in paragraph 1 above have various forms of special arrangements such as advance polling and postal polling, but we do not have information about the full details of the respective schemes.
Ends/Wednesday, October 15, 2003