2 offences added to electoral laws

April 13, 2021

(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.)


The Government will amend the relevant electoral legislation to introduce two offences in order to regulate acts that manipulate or undermine elections.


Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced at a press conference today that the Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021 proposes to amend the Elections (Corrupt & Illegal Conduct) Ordinance to regulate in accordance with the law acts that manipulate or sabotage elections.


Any person who openly incites voters not to vote, to cast blank or invalid votes during an election period, and anyone who willfully obstructs and prevents another person from voting at an election will commit an offence.


Mrs Lam said: "The reason for introducing two offences in this exercise, of course, stems from Basic Law Annex I and Annex II. In fact, most of the things that we are now doing in the local legislation are to fully and accurately implement Annex I and Annex II, as approved by the National People's Congress Standing Committee. That is the starting position.


"So in both annexes, we are required to act in accordance with the law to prevent any acts that amount to manipulating or obstructing elections. So in Hong Kong, based on the experience that we have had over the years about elections, we have identified these two aspects that we should do something in law.


"One is during the election period, when there are certain activities by certain people which are intended to incite people not to cast a vote or to do something strange in elections, then it will be an offence.


"The reason is because first we have to implement the National People's Congress Standing Committee's decision. The other reason is of course we all want elections to be very fair. So any manipulation to jeopardise or sabotage an election should not be permitted in a situation like Hong Kong."


The bill also includes a host of improvement measures for public elections.


These include the implementation of an electronic poll register, the setting up of a special queue for voters in need and empowering the Chief Electoral Officer to require schools and non-government organisations receiving grants from the Government to make available their premises for use as polling stations and counting stations.

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