Provisional Legislative Council

Panel on Constitutional Affairs

Meeting on 9 January 1998

Progress of the Voter Registration Campaign


This paper informs Members of the progress of the voter registration (VR) campaign for the 1998 Legislative Council (LegCo) elections.


2.At the meeting on 7 November 1997, Members noted the various arrangements for the VR drive, including the publicity activities and the VR Week for registering electors at geographical constituencies (GCs), and the targetted approach for registering electors in functional constituencies (FCs) and Election Committee (EC) subsectors. The progress of these arrangements is set out below.

Voter Registration for Geographical Constituencies

3.The VR Week ran from 6 to 12 December, during which about 30,000 Voter Registration Ambassadors visited all households in the territory to encourage eligible persons to register as electors and update the electoral roll. Nearly two million households were visited during the VR week. Every household has been given the opportunity and convenience at their doorstep to sign up as electors. From 13 December onwards, supplementary VR activities were enhanced at the district level to capture those who cannot be contacted during the VR Week. These supplementary efforts include:

  1. conducting follow-up visits to those households which cannot be contacted in prior visits;

  2. distributing forms to Mutual Aid Committees and Owners Corporations;

  3. setting up temporary registration counters at District Offices' Public Enquiry Service Centres, Registration of Persons Offices, Mass Transit Railway Stations, shopping arcades, etc.;

  4. visiting tertiary and post-secondary institutions, technical institutes and youth centres;

  5. visiting elderly homes, hospitals and clinics; and

  6. visiting charitable organizations and major public corporations, e.g. Airport Authority, Hospital Authority, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, Po Leung Kuk, Lok Sin Tong, Yan Chai, Pok Oi and Yan Oi Tong.

As at 30 December, about 421,000 voter registration forms have been collected by District Offices, and about 10,000 forms were received by the Registration and Electoral Office (REO).

4.The VR week has provided a good opportunity for all eligible electors to sign up as electors or report change of residential address. Besides, it has also fostered public awareness of the VR exercise and the coming LegCo election in May 1998. The door-to-door visits have been an excellent lesson on civic education for the 30,000 young Voter Registration Ambassadors.

Voter Registration for Functional Constituencies and Election Committee Subsectors

5.As regards the registration of FC electors and voters for EC subsectors, the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) has already issued more than 120,000 notifications and 100,000 invitation letters with application forms to nearly all of the eligible electors. Other publicity actions include:

  1. advertisements in trade publications, magazines and newspapers, as well as advertisements through the internet;

  2. announcements of public interest (APIs) on television and radio;

  3. seminars and briefing sessions for umbrella organizations and eligible voters;

  4. visits to about 300 umbrella organizations; and

  5. follow-up telephone appeals to recipients of notifications and invitation letters.

6.Despite these efforts, the registration rate has not been entirely satisfactory. The situation is particularly worrying in a number of new FCs, such as the Agriculture and Fisheries; Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publications; Import and Export; Textiles and Garment; Wholesale and Retail, and Information Technology. In view of this situation, the following steps are being taken:

  1. the REO will continue to make telephone calls to the recipients of the notifications and invitation letters to urge them to complete the application forms, and remind corporate electors to appoint their authorized representatives;

  2. the REO have sent another round of letters to all eligible voters who have not yet registered, including those from FCs with unsatisfactory response, to urge them to complete the registration form before the close of the registration period;

  3. the Constitutional Affairs Bureau has lined up a series of briefing sessions for major organizations to urge their members to get registered; and

  4. APIs and newspaper advertisements have been arranged to remind eligible voters to register and appoint authorized representatives.

Constitutional Affairs Bureau
6 January 1998