Hong Kong legislature election, held on September 4th for all 70 seats.
The following is from a big article with lots of images, so I'm not doing the usual quote box that I do with articles. The article is about ballot papers outnumbering voter turnouts at some voting stations.
Serious discrepancies have been uncovered in results from at least five polling stations for this month’s LegCo election, FactWire can reveal.
Using statistical records from political parties and citizens, FactWire compared the voter turnout and the total number of ballot papers in 96 stations, one sixth of the 571 polling stations.
FactWire has repeatedly contacted the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) for official statistics on the issuing of ballot papers, hourly voter turnouts and number of invalid ballot papers. No replies have been received.
A total of 571 ordinary polling stations were open to the public during the Legislative Council election on September 4. When the polls closed, most then operated as counting stations, with staff immediately beginning the count. Ballot papers were delivered from small polling stations to the main counting station in the same district, where they were counted along with other ballot papers.
See also: Hong Kong’s latest elections are proof the Umbrella Movement did not fail
Through contact with political parties and polling agents, and by gathering information at the scene, FactWire reporters obtained records of hourly voter turnout and cumulative voter turnout from 96 polling stations, one sixth of 571 polling stations. This information is marked on a P15 form, accessible on the notice board outside every polling station.
According to the 2016 LegCo General Election Operational Manual, the hourly voter turnout marked on the P15 form should be consistent with the hourly number of ballot papers issued. The total number of ballot papers refers to a sum total of the valid and invalid ballot papers (including tendered, spoilt, unused and unmarked ballot papers) of each candidate. The total voter turnout should equal the total number of ballot papers announced at the end of the counting session.
FactWire found two more polling stations in the same situation as those in Tai Po, Tseung Kwan O and Sham Tseng, where ballot papers were found outnumbering the voter turnout on election day by candidates representatives. Polling staff in these stations only counted the ballot papers for the geographical constituency within the station, and did not collect or count ballot papers from small polling stations.
See also: One small step: Meet Hong Kong’s vote counting agents
The total number of ballot papers was found to have exceeded the voter turnout by 103 and 100 ballot papers at CCC Kei Wai Primary School (Ma Wan) (K1301) and Wan Tau Tong Neighbourhood Community Centre (P1101) respectively.
Along with an excess of 257 ballot papers at Sheung Tak Community Hall (Q2401), 278 at Hong Kong Teachers Association Lee Heng Kwei Secondary School (P1001) and 93 at Sham Tseng Catholic Primary School (K1001), the 5 polling stations had a total of 831 excess ballot papers.
The written numbers of voter turnout on P15 forms in Wan Tau Tong Neighbourhood Community Centre, CCC Kei Wai Primary School (Ma Wan) and Sheung Tak Community Hall were revised after the election closed. The last hourly voter turnout and cumulative voter turnout was crossed out, and new numbers were written on the form. The revised numbers were added with 100, 100 and 300 extra ballot papers respectively.
Two photos of the P15 Form at Wan Tau Tong Neighbourhood Community Centre taken at different hours show a change in total voter turnout. At 12am, it was captured as 4,808, then was found changed to 4,908 at 4am, at the end of the counting session. The new number then became consistent with the sum of 4,849 valid ballot papers and 59 invalid papers as announced by the presiding officer.
In the case of CCC Kei Wai Primary School (Ma Wan), although the voter turnout was revised from 4,379 to 4,479, the total number of valid and invalid ballot papers still outnumbered the voter turnout by 3 votes.
At Sheung Tak Community Hall, there was anger after an extra 300 ballot papers apparently appeared from nowhere. The total voter turnout was amended from 6,001 to 6,301 votes on the P15 form, and the revised result came from counting counterfoils. However, the polling staff counted 6,258 ballot papers (a sum of 6,217 valid and 41 invalid ballot papers), which contradicted the number of 6,301 counterfoils. This means that there were 43 extra counterfoils.
A polling agent at Sheung Tak Community Hall, who gave her name as Miss Law, said the cumulative voter turnout was amended at 4.23am. She quoted the presiding officer at Sheung Tak, who said polling staff repeatedly made mistakes while filling in forms. He explained to Law that it was not until they finished counting the counterfoils did they acquire the finalized results of 6,301 ballot papers.
Law saw messy correction marks on statistical forms. She pointed out that more than 2 hours were taken to prepare the station for the counting of ballot papers, and the station did not reopen until 1.40am.
“The total voter turnout was found to be incorrect anyway. If the accuracy of this number is not that important and can be double-checked during the counting procedure, why wasn’t the polling station open earlier so that the general public could participate in monitoring the process”? Law asked.
Tensions were high at another polling station where ballot papers outnumbered voter turnout, this time by 278 votes. At 5am at the Hong Kong Teachers Association Lee Heng Kwei Secondary School, the presiding officer announced that the site had to be returned to the school by 6am, so the ballot papers would have to be moved to the Tai Po Community Centre (Exhibition Hall) (P0101) and the count would have to begin all over again.
Polling agents objected, saying there were inconsistencies in the number of ballot papers. Witnesses reported seeing polling staff inserting counterfoils and unused ballot papers into black suitcases, wheeling them away from the polling stations, and coming back around half an hour later. Despite reporting their observations and complaints to the presiding officer, they received no response. Other ballot papers were placed on the counting desks unmoved. The presiding officer recounted the ballot papers twice, and both yielded different results from the first outcome.
Legislative Council General Election – Operational Manual for Presiding Officers, Deputy Presiding Officers, Assistant Presiding Officers and District Liaison Officers and 2016 Legislative Council General Election – Operational Manual for Polling Officers and Electoral Staff clearly states the procedures of compilation of statistical returns for each geographical constituency and district council (second) functional constituency.
Each time a polling officer receives a pad of new ballot papers at the issuing desk, he/she should enter and cross-check both the serial numbers and the quantity of ballot papers received. At the end of every period, which is 15 minutes of every hour, another polling officer should enter serial numbers for the number of ballot papers left at the end of the period (carried forward to the next hour), and pass the records of all issuing desks to another polling officer for computing the quantity of ballot papers left at the end of each period and the quantity of ballot papers issued to the voters during each hour. Such calculations are necessary to cross-check with the hourly voter turnout.
The assistant presiding officer will then collate statistical records from each issuing desk and calculate the hourly voter turnout. Upon verification by the deputy presiding officer, the assistant presiding officer will fill in the hourly voter turnout for Geographical Constituency (P15 blue form) and district council (second) Functional Constituency (P15 white form).
The statistics at polling stations were provided by Hong Kong Indigenous, Democratic Party, Neighbourhood and Workers Service Centre, Civic Party, Labour Party as well as polling agents. Some records were collected by FactWire reporters at the scene.
For the results, basically there are three groups, each made up of a bunch of tiny sub groups. They are Pro-Beijing, Pan-Democrats, and Localists.
Pro-Beijieng: 43 seats ==> 40 seats
Pan-Democrats: 26 seats ==> 23 seats
Localists: 1 seats ==> 6 seat
Non-aligned: 0 seats ==> 1 seat
More details at the wiki:
HONG KONG – Two years after the pro-democracy “Umbrella Revolution” began, Hong Kong is entering uncharted political territory as former protesters prepare to take office, advocating a possible split from China.
The first major elections since the 2014 rallies saw rebel politicians win seats this month as fears grow that Beijing is tightening its grip on the city in a number of areas, from politics to education and the media.
Hong Kong was handed back to China by Britain in 1997 under a semi-autonomous “one country, two systems” deal, which guaranteed its freedoms for 50 years. There are deep concerns that those liberties are under threat.
It was 2014 that shaped this key new group of lawmakers who will now promote self-determination or independence from Beijing inside the legislature when it starts its new term in October.
Wednesday marks two years to the day since the Umbrella Movement protests calling for democratic reform exploded onto the streets. Police fired tear gas on crowds, galvanizing tens of thousands more to join them in what became more than two months of rallies.
Despite huge numbers, the largely peaceful protests failed to win concessions from Beijing.
However, the momentum and consequent disappointment heavily influenced the young protesters who recently won seats in Hong Kong’s lawmaking body, the Legislative Council (Legco).
They say the failure of the protests forced them to turn to a more radical message, which has gained support among voters demanding change.
At least five new legislators support self-determination or independence, which was not on the agenda during the 2014 rallies and is a departure from the traditional stance of the pro-democracy camp.
Former Umbrella Movement student leader Nathan Law is the best-known of the new breed — at 23 he is Legco’s youngest-ever lawmaker.
Law’s new party, Demosisto, founded with fellow Umbrella Movement campaigner Joshua Wong, is calling for self-determination for Hong Kong in frustration at the intransigence of the authorities.
“We are not pushing for independence, but Hong Kongers should be able to choose their own future. Independence is one option,” Law said.
Fellow new lawmaker Eddie Chu, 38, who also participated in the 2014 protests, says it is time to “take back the right” of self-determination, as previous tactics have failed. “From changing the Basic Law,” Hong Kong’s constitution, “to seeking independence — all are acceptable to me,” he said.
Beijing has warned it will not tolerate any talk of independence “inside or outside” the Legco.
The Hong Kong government — criticized as a stooge of Beijing — banned the most vocal independence candidates from running in the polls.
And in a system skewed toward Beijing-friendly groups, the pro-establishment camp still holds 40 seats against the pro-democracy camp’s 30.
But the new lawmakers have said they will not tone down their message.
Observers predict fireworks.
Political analyst Joseph Cheng said the first year of Legco’s new term will be “chaotic and difficult.”
“The pro-independence legislators will use every single relevant issue to articulate their position,” said Cheng.
The pro-establishment camp will unite against any talk of self-determination or independence, while the new breed may also have to take on opposition in their own camp, where the moderate democrats still hold sway, Cheng adds.
Meanwhile, the public will be hoping the fresh crop of lawmakers will push a range of social issues that have stagnated in the deeply divided legislature, including supply of affordable housing in a city where rents are sky-high.
But with fault lines starker than ever, progress will be tough.
Those frustrations may well drive some new lawmakers to campaign on the streets once more if they feel they cannot make headway in Legco, says political analyst Willy Lam.
“They have indicated they will use nonviolent methods, but the possibility of ugly confrontation between these new young Turks and the police cannot be ruled out,” said Lam.