Election committee poll hours cut after voter cull

The polling time for upcoming Election Committee Subsector Elections will be reduced from 15 hours to nine, officials say, now Beijing’s overhaul of the SAR’s election system has slashed the number of eligible voters.

Around 8,000 people will be able to vote in the polls, compared to about 250,000 in 2016.

The next elections will be held from 9am to 6pm on September 19.

The chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission, Barnabas Fung, said on Friday that shortening the polling hours is aimed at ensuring an efficient use of public resources.

“It’s only clear enough that 15 hours would be too much and hence not an efficient use of public resources so that we reduce the polling hours for the smaller electorate,” he said.

A total of 1,500 people will be picked to join the Election Committee, which will later select the next chief executive as well as a large proportion of Hong Kong’s legislators.

The polls will be the first since the start of the Covid pandemic.

Fung said the elections can go ahead as the city’s coronavirus situation has stabilised and the vaccination rate is rising.

Even if people are running a fever, they will still be allowed to vote, Fung said, but they will be taken to a separate area away from the others.

“Voting doesn’t really take a long time. I think the risk should be much lower than if one were to have fever and to stay in the polling stations for a long time such as our polling staff or candidates.”

A computer system will be used for the first time at polling stations to scan voters’ identity cards and check their eligibility before paper ballots are issued.