The Government is studying the feasibility of voting outside Hong Kong.
Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang made the remarks when responding to lawmakers’ questions in the Legislative Council today.
He noted that with the integration of Hong Kong into the national development, the central government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government have been introducing policy initiatives which incentivise Hong Kong residents to live and develop on the Mainland.
Exploring how to facilitate Hong Kong residents living on the Mainland to cast their votes is in line with the direction of such development, he said.
Mr Tsang pointed out that the Hong Kong SAR Government has always adopted an open mind to the idea of voting outside Hong Kong.
In response to the attention over the issue of voting outside Hong Kong in the community, the Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Bureau, which is responsible for formulating electoral policies, in conjunction with the Department of Justice and the Registration & Electoral Office, have been studying the views received.
Mr Tsang said: “We shall proactively study the recommendations in the Electoral Affairs Commission’s Report on the 2020 LegCo General Election as well as suggestions from various sectors of the community on how existing electoral arrangements can be enhanced, and consider further improving the electoral arrangements, including the feasibility of voting outside Hong Kong.”
Mr Tsang emphasised that when considering whether and how to implement voting outside Hong Kong, ensuring that elections are held in an open, fair and honest manner will always be the top priority.
He pointed out that the Government would need to consider various factors in a holistic approach, including whether and how to make arrangements for advance registration for voting outside Hong Kong, and how to ensure that ballot papers and boxes can be delivered to and from polling stations outside Hong Kong effectively and safely.
The arrangements during the poll and the count, how to apply Hong Kong’s electoral laws and regulations to the poll and the count, risks involved during the process, how to deal with emergencies at stations outside Hong Kong, how to maintain order at the stations and enforcement actions in relation to breaches of electoral law will also need to be considered.