Electoral Commission plans to set up more polling stations

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The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Tong Hio Fong said yesterday that more polling stations will be set up for the year’s Legislative Assembly Election, in order to meet the increased number of voters.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mr. Tong disclosed the schools that were used as the polling venues in the previous elections were unable to be used again for this year’s due to conflicts of schedules. But he guarantees that the Commission will look for other venues that are easily accessible and able to provide barrier-free facilities.
The exact number of polling stations for the election is not yet confirmed, the chairman said.
“We would try to distribute voters equally to different polling stations,” Mr. Tong noted. “It will affect the flow of the election as well as adding weight to the workload of the staff if some stations are overcrowded.”
Meanwhile, the Commission yesterday had a meeting with the Environmental Protection Bureau to discuss the limitation over the noise that would be possibly generated during the campaign period.
Mr. Tong indicated it is necessary to mandate limitation or control of the volume of campaigning activities.
Meanwhile, member of the Commission, Victor Chan Chi Victor, also the Director of the Government Information Bureau, reiterated that regulations related to freedom of press of the Electoral Law are not being altered, despite the fact that some contents of the law have been revised.
In response to a reporter’s enquiry about the regulations of media reporting during the campaign period, Mr. Chan said that the Commission will meet the Portuguese and English- language press who are in doubt.
But he added that meeting will not take place in the short term as the current workload is heavy for the Commission.
Meeting local media outlet representatives earlier this month on the year’s election guidelines, Mr. Tong told reporters (then) local media are advised to avoid reports that could create promotion of certain candidates.
He also said at that time local press is responsible for erasing or shutting down illegal comments or discussions on their social platforms during the course of the election.
According to the current Electoral Law, journalists and social communication firms will not be penalized for their behaviour performed during the campaign period but it would not affect the involved journalists or firms to be held accountable after the campaign.