The Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (CMAB) reasoned that the shortening of polling hours could reduce fatigue and neighbourhood disturbances, as well as allow results to be announced earlier. Currently, polls are open for 15 hours from 7:30am to 10:30pm. However, a study suggested this week that – if the government shortens voting time at the end of the day – pro-democracy voters would likely be affected the most. The bureau launched a public consultation for the proposal on November 13. The deadline for accepting views came on Friday.
The online petition against the proposal was organised by pro-democracy legislator Charles Mok, who wrote on Facebook on Thursday evening that he had received over 7,000 signatures.
“During the 2016 legislative elections, some 220,000 people voted during the last hour of the polling period,” said Mok. “Shortening polling hours does not only inconvenience members of the public who need to go to work, it also takes away the public’s right to vote.”