EAC chief: ‘convenient’ free travel helps busy voters

The Electoral Affairs Commission’s chairman, Barnabas Fung, said on Sunday that he would not comment on whether the offer of free public transport on polling day has had any effect on the turnout rate for the Legco poll, only saying that the travel offer should be “convenient” for voters.

“We do not comment on voter turnout and we do not comment on different factors affecting the voter turnout,” he told reporters at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.

“But… all the polling stations were selected on the basis that they are close to the registered principal residence of the voters, and in the normal course of events, voters can walk to the polling stations.

“But a lot of voters may have other daily activities to attend to and they may go somewhere first before going to the polling station. And the fact that there was free transport provided to them, I think, in principle should be convenient to them.”

Meanwhile, Fung said three more polling stations will extend operations slightly beyond the official closing time at 10.30pm – after glitches led to temporary suspension at the stations in Tsing Yi, Kwai Fong and Sham Shui Po. Extended hours were announced for five stations that opened late or experienced glitches in the morning.

He said one polling station had trouble connecting to the internet, affecting the operation of the electronic register, while electrical or technical issues were to blame at the other two stations.

“All the suspensions were within about 10 minutes, and in accordance with practice, the respective 10 minutes or so would be added back to the polling time of the respective stations at 10.30pm.”

He added that the commission has received 345 complaints in total, mainly in relation to election advertisements, campaigning activities and voting arrangements.