Behind the curtain:HK worse than NPC: No abstention from voting

Published (HKT): 2021.04.06 09:01

The objective of “perfection” of Hong Kong’s electoral system by Beijing was originally said to kick the “pro-lam chau”(pro-mutual assured destruction) camp out of the legislature and election committee, but recently Hong Kong government officials have kept “enriching” it on end. Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang Kwok-wai alleged that studies have to be made on an amendment to the current ordinance to ban the electorate from casting a blank vote. The remarks concerned have prompted quite a number of citizens and people in the political circle to feel qualms about it. A source from the political circle said that one can choose among for, against and abstention when voting on a bill or motion submitted to the National People’s Congress(NPC), so “isn’t Hong Kong worse than the mainland if casting a blank vote is prohibited?”

Defeating the purpose of “perfecting” electoral arrangement

The source from the political circle stated outright what Cheng and Tsang said is a reflection of their fear of an enormous number of people casting a blank vote in the forthcoming elections. “However, if they didn’t say anything against their own convictions, which means the ‘perfection’ of Hong Kong’s electoral arrangement is supported by the masses, there won’t be an enormous number of blank votes, and there is no need to amend the current ordinance to ban the electorate from casting a blank vote.” He consents to what Lee Wing-tat, former chairman of the Democratic Party, said: even if voters cast blank votes, it won’t pose an obstacle to an election, and believes that no political figure or organization will call on people to cast a blank vote. “The possibility of violating the National Security Law is threatening enough to stop people from calling on anyone to cast a blank vote.”

What’s more important is the electorate in Hong Kong has never been banned from casting a blank vote, even in the British-Hong Kong era, since election came to being in the city. He said there are even three options for members of the NPC in voting on a bill or motion: for, against and abstention. “If voters in Hong Kong are not allowed to cast a blank vote, is it still called ‘one country, two systems’?”

It causes another pro-democracy figure some worry as well. As elections in Hong Kong have always been done by secret ballot, “no one knows who you vote for”. “But if the electorate is prohibited from casting a blank vote, your vote will be checked to see if you cast a void one, which means elections are not done by secret ballot anymore!” As such, it is highly possible that a lot of citizens will not want to vote. “It perfectly defeats the purpose of ‘perfecting’ Hong Kong’s electoral system, which even Beijing doesn’t want.”

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