Tuesday, March 20, 2012

scmp: Simulated ballot gives everyone a say

Simulated ballot gives everyone a say

All permanent residents aged over 18 will be able to vote on Friday via a website, smartphone app or at one of 15 polling stations.
Photo: Thomas Yau
Every adult permanent resident will have the chance to cast a vote for chief executive this Friday, in an attempt to influence the 1,193 people who will choose the city's next leader.
The results of the simulated ballot, organised by the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme, will be made known to members of the Election Committee, which will choose Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's successor two days later, on March 25. "We will hold the civil referendum two days before the actual polling day to give Election Committee members and the public a day to digest our results," programme head Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu said.

Chung set out last month to raise HK$500,000 to run the poll. But with more than HK$760,000 raised, some HK$80,000 has been set aside in case no candidate reaches the required 601 Election Committee votes, which would lead to a poll rerun in May.

He expects around 50,000 people to vote. "It will be very desirable if the turnout reaches 100,000," he said. "If hundreds of thousands of people come out to vote, our [computer] system may get overloaded. But it may indirectly show our success."

Online voters must provide identity card and mobile phone numbers, and at polling stations show their identity card. Personal information will be deleted after one week.

The government said yesterday deputy secretary for financial services and the treasury Alice Lau Yim would head the chief executive-designate's office. Tasked with ensuring the new government's smooth transition, it will operate from the day the chief executive is elected to June 30.

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