Getting Out The Vote

I exercised my right to vote in the legislative council elections held on Sunday 4 September. According to the latest reports in the media, by 7.30 pm that evening so had more than a million other Hong Kong citizens and our city was on course for a record turnout. The final results will not be known until late on Monday as recounts will doubtless be called for in those seats where the first tally is very close. Moreover there will be legal challenges in the coming weeks over the decision by some Returning Officers to reject the candidate applications of six persons.

Whether the officers had those powers, and whether they exercised them correctly, is still to be determined by the courts.

One frustrating aspect of the elections here (there are several others, but this is a particularly striking one) is that in no fewer than 12 out of the 30 standard functional constituency seats (there are another five non-standard ones, the so-called "super seats" in addition to the 35 geographical ones) the candidate was returned unopposed. Six of the 12 were incumbents, and the remaining six were newcomers: people who have never faced the electorate.

But while there are flaws in our electoral arrangements and a long way to go before we can call them fully democratic, it is still worth voting. I cannot understand the attitude of some people who complain about the performance of the government and the legislature but can’t be bothered to vote or even to register as electors. If you sit the election out, you lose your right to complain about anything.