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Sunday, September 12, 2004 

Problems At the Poll Stations

Radio-45 Ballot boxes were too small. Some poll stations had already run out of ballot boxes by mid-afternoon. Unconfirmed reports said that a few poll stations had to temporarily halt its operations unitl new ballot boxes arrived. Some unverified reports also suggested that one or two poll stations decided to use cardboard boxes as ballot boxes (the government denied that had happened). Commentators at the radio show speculated this is an institutional means to discourage voting by pro-democracy voters who tend to vote later in the election day. Others, including democratic candidate Martin Lee, blamed the government on poor planning. Justice Wu speculated that the short of ballot boxes might be due to voters folded the ballot improperly, resulting each vote taking up more space in the ballot box than expected.

Update: BBC has a proper write-up on this:
"Queues formed outside some polling stations where they ran out of ballot boxes during the afternoon.

Some voters had complained that cardboard boxes without official seals were being used as alternatives.

The government blamed the large ballot papers needed this year because there were so many candidates in some constituencies.

Curtains were removed from polling booths after reports that voters had come under pressure to use mobile phone cameras to photograph their ballot to prove how they had voted."

And via Bloomberg:
"You'd think they would know how to run an election," said Lee Yiu Keung, a taxi driver, who said there were more than 500 people lined up to vote at one polling station 15 minutes before the close of balloting. ``They had these small ballot boxes and the ballots were very big. Some election officials said we didn't fold them right and blamed us for the problem. That's wrong."

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