Local media outlets have highlighted multiple instances elderly voters being shuttled to polling stations during this year’s District Council Elections, raising concerns over potential vote rigging.
On Sunday morning, not long after voting began, a tour bus full of senior citizens stopped outside a polling station in Lek Yuen, Sha Tin, according to InMedia.
Later in Tuen Mun, elderly voters were seen being led to vote by care centre staff, i-Cable News reported. The staff reportedly reminded them of which candidate to vote for.
In Hung Hom, a van with both Hong Kong and mainland Chinese number plates was spotted shuttling senior voters to a polling station multiple times. When questioned by an Apple Daily reporter, the driver said the old people were “all his parents.”
Similar incidents have been reported in past elections with mostly candidates from the pro-government side being accused of organising elderly voters.
The Electoral Affairs Commission received over 2,400 complaints on Sunday, mostly concerning campaign advertisements. Chairman of the EAC, Barnabus Fung said a vote rigging offence cannot be established unless elders were proven to have been forced or bribed to vote for a candidate.
Student group Scholarism urged people to pay attention to senior voters on social media. The group urged young people to go to polling stations with their elders to avoid them being used or fooled by others.
In an interview with Ming Pao, Scholarism leader Joshua Wong said young voters are key to Hong Kong’s democratic future. More than half of eligible voters under the age of 40 have not registered to exercise their voting rights, Wong said.
The 19-year-old, who cast his first ballot this year, said pan-democrats need to focus on mobilising young people in the coming decades.