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Handling of ballot papers on completion of Chief Executive Election
     In response to a media commentary today (March 3) that ballot papers will be delivered to the Mainland on completion of the Chief Executive Election for fingerprint examination to check the choice on the ballot papers by individual Election Committee member, the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) made the following solemn statement:
     In accordance with sections 56 to 59 of the Electoral Procedure (Chief Executive Election) Regulation (Cap. 541J), after declaring the result of the election (or terminating the proceedings for the election) as required by the electoral law, the Returning Officer should immediately seal the ballot papers into packets. Candidates, election agents or counting agents will be invited to observe the process of wrapping, sealing and endorsing the packets by the Returning Officer. The sealed and endorsed packets, together with other election documents, will be kept in safe custody by the Chief Electoral Officer according to the law. The Chief Electoral Officer shall not permit any person to inspect any ballot paper other than on an order made by a court in proceedings relating to an election petition or other legal proceedings.
     The Regulation stipulates that the Chief Electoral Officer shall retain in his custody the ballot papers and election documents for six months. Unless otherwise directed by an order of court in proceedings relating to an election petition or other legal proceedings, the Chief Electoral Officer shall destroy the ballot papers and relevant documents immediately after the expiry of six months.
     In summary, in accordance with the above-mentioned legal requirements, all ballot papers and relevant documents will be retained in the Chief Electoral Officer's custody. Except for a court order, no one is allowed to inspect any ballot papers. All ballot papers will be destroyed immediately after the expiry of the six-month period.
     It is incumbent upon the REO to point out that the rumour mentioned in the commentary is totally groundless and absolutely prohibited by the law. The REO also reiterates that in accordance with the legal requirements, the whole polling process is secret. As in the past, the Electoral Affairs Commission will spare no efforts to ensure that the Chief Executive Election will be conducted in an open, fair and honest manner strictly in accordance with the law.
Ends/Friday, March 3, 2017
Issued at HKT 20:00
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