Govt must tell voters who not to pick: Elizabeth Quat

A pro-Beijing lawmaker on Monday said the government must warn voters not to pick “unpatriotic” candidates in future elections, as another urged officials to reassure people they can exercise their right to vote without fear.

DAB legislator Elizabeth Quat complained that publicity for December’s Legco races does not emphasise strongly enough that only patriots can be allowed to rule Hong Kong.

Instead of just urging people to cast a ballot and promoting “clean” elections, the authorities should also warn people not to vote for anyone who isn’t patriotic, she said in Legco.

The deputy secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, Maisie Chan, agreed with the lawmaker that the “patriots governing Hong Kong” principle must be hammered home.

“It is one of our key publicity objectives, that only patriots should be returned to govern Hong Kong… we agree that perhaps we should put more emphasis on the point made by Ms Quat,” Chan said.

“We can work with RTHK and the Registration and Electoral Office and add this important message to our promotional clips on radio and TV.”

Unionist Alice Mak, meanwhile, urged authorities to step up efforts to reassure the public that they can exercise their right to vote without fear, saying some people had been pressured not to vote in the District Council polls in 2019.

The pro-democracy camp enjoyed a landslide victory in the elections, which saw the biggest turnout in Hong Kong’s history.

Separately, the government added that it may set up a polling station at the Penny’s Bay quarantine camp.

But the authorities also said it would be harder to set up polling stations at quarantine hotels because people can’t go out of their rooms to vote.