18,000 people across the border signed up to vote: CE

Chief Executive Carrie Lam revealed on Tuesday that around 18,000 Hong Kong people living on the mainland have signed up to cast their votes in the upcoming Legco elections, adding that it’s unlikely that the final figure will exceed the maximum 110,000 voters which the three polling stations to be set up near the border could accommodate.

The government announced last Monday that the Heung Yuen Wai, Lo Wu, and Lok Ma Chau Spur Line control points will be used as polling stations on December 19 to accommodate Hong Kong voters living across the border.

Registered voters in geographical and functional constituencies will be allowed to cast their votes at the stations without undergoing quarantine, but they must immediately return to the mainland after casting their ballots, or they won’t be allowed to skip quarantine. The one-off arrangement is not applicable for the new election committee constituency.

Voters could register for the arrangement between December 1 and 8.

Speaking ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, Carrie Lam said by Monday evening, a total of 18,215 people living across the border had signed up to cast their votes on the polling day – around 16.6 percent of the stations’ maximum capacity.

“There are two more days before the deadline passes. It looks like the number will not come close to 100,000. So our planned capacity and manpower arrangement should be able to accommodate this,” she said.

But the CE said the upcoming elections will be of a large scale, with around 4.5 million registered voters and more than 380,000 staff to be deployed to work on the polling day.

She said under the revamped electoral rules, some voters could cast up to four votes, making the elections more complex.

The CE said her administration doesn’t have a voter turnout target, but again urged people to cast their vote in order to pick their preferred candidates and to show their support for the electoral changes.

Lam also said she’s hopeful that the new Legislative Council will enable Hong Kong to work more closely with the mainland.

“I am anticipating that after the general election, when the seventh Legislative Council returns on the first of January next year, it will be a Legislative Council which is more rational, which is more prepared to work with the executive, in order to further the interests of Hong Kong,” she said.

“A particular area which previously had been obstructed and disrupted is our relationship with the central government and also our aspirations to integrate more into the national development. I’m sure that now that we have a Legislative Council comprising patriots administering Hong Kong, all these endeavours to work more closely with the mainland authorities to render ourselves contributing to the national development will get more support.”