macaupost

Polling stations stay at 36 but 4 change location: govt

2021-05-13 03:36     Comment:0

Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Commission (CAEAL) President Tong Hio Fong said yesterday that while the total number of polling stations for the legislature’s direct and indirect elections this year will remain unchanged at 36 as in the 2017 elections, four locations used for polling stations in the elections four years ago will each be replaced by another for different reasons.

For instance, Fong pointed out, the Macau Forum complex in Zape needed to be replaced as it is currently being used as a nucleic acid testing (NAT) station and, according to a government announcement earlier this week, will soon be used as a COVID-19 vaccination centre.

Tong made the remarks while speaking to reporters after chairing a regular closed-door meeting of the commission at the Public Administration Building in Rua do Campo.

In the 2017 elections, there were 34 polling stations for the direct election across the city, while a polling station for both the direct and indirect elections was set up at the Macau Polytechnic Institute’s (IPM) Sports Stadium in Zape. Besides, a polling station for the direct election was set up at the city’s prison in Coloane for eligible inmates to cast their ballots.

Tong told reporters late last year that due to the increased electoral roll, his commission would study whether the number of polling stations for the 2021 elections should be increased.

About 320,000 permanent residents will be eligible to vote in this year’s direct election, an increase from the about 307,000 voters in the 2017 election.

Tong told reporters yesterday that his commission has “provisionally” decided to keep the number of polling stations for this year’s direct and indirect legislative elections unchanged at 36 after he and his fellow members inspected a number of venues last week that were used for polling stations four years ago.

However, Tong said that four venues that were used for polling stations in the 2017 direct election will no longer be used for the upcoming election for different reasons, because of which his commission has chosen suitable locations that will replace each of the four venues located in the same respective neighbourhoods as previously.

4 new locations for polling stations

According to Tong, the Macau Forum complex, which is currently being used as a NAT station, will be replaced by Santa Rosa de Lima English Secondary School – which is located in Avenida do Dr. Rodrigo Rodrigues in Zape.

The Social Welfare Bureau’s (IAS) service facility set up at the Seac Pai Van public housing estate in Coloane, which was used for a polling station in the 2017 direct election, will be replaced by the Seac Pai Van Public School – which started operating last year – for the upcoming direct election, according to Tong, who said that his commission has decided to change the polling station due to the previous one’s limited size which was unable to offer voters the right environment for casting their ballots.

Tong said that his commission has been aware that residents in Seac Pai Van had to queue for a relatively long time outdoors to cast their ballot during the 2017 direct election as the IAS facility there is too small. “The environment there for residents to cast their ballots is not good,” Tong said.

According to Tong, the Taipa Fong Chong School – which is located near the Nova Taipa Garden residential estate – cannot be used for a polling station for the upcoming direct election as the school is under renovation, because of which it will be replaced by the primary school section of Pui Tou School – which is located at the Hung Fat Garden residential estate.

Tong also said that his commission has decided to replace Santa Teresa School in Ilha Verde with São José Diocesan No. 5 School in Toi San for the upcoming direct election, with the aim of making polling stations more evenly distributed for voters in the Ilha Verde and Toi San neighbourhoods.

Urging voters to update their address registrations

Tong also said that Coloane currently has a population of 32,000 but only 6,200 voters are registered as having their home address there, because of which his commission believes that many voters who have moved to new homes there have still not changed their address in their electoral registration.

The commission designates voters the polling station that is nearest to their registered home address. Tong urged all those who have not updated their home address in their electoral registration after moving to update it by May 31, in order to enable his commission to designate polling stations that are nearest to the address where they are now living.

Tong also suggested that voters can check whether their address registered in their electoral registration is the really one where they are currently living, despite not having moved to a new home, with the aim of ensuring that they will receive their voter notification letter before the election.

The direct and indirect Legislative Assembly elections will be held on Sunday, September 12. Elections in Macau are traditionally held on a Sunday.

The commission has pointed out that if voters who have not updated their home address in their electoral registration after moving to a new home only change it after May 31, the revised address will not be used for the upcoming election – i.e. the commission will still choose the polling station based on their former address.

Voters can change their address via the website of the electoral registration (www.re.gov.mo) where they have to log into their personal account of the government’s “single account portal”, via the “single account portal” smartphone app, via one of the self-service kiosks across the city, or by visiting the electoral service helpdesk at the Public Administration Building in Rua do Campo.

Meanwhile, Tong also revealed that two of the four groups which had submitted registered voters’ signatures endorsing their respective candidacy in the upcoming direct election have withdrawn from taking part in the election.

According to Tong, the two groups are the Macau Power of Gaming Association, and the Macau Common Home Alliance.

Tong said that the commission would not ask any group that decides to withdraw from the election why it decided to do so.

Four years ago, 25 groups signed up for the direct election. However, one of them withdrew only after its candidacy had already been accepted by the commission, because of which it still appeared on the ballots.


Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Commission (CAEAL) President Tong Hio Fong (centre) briefs reporters yesterday after a closed-door meeting of the commission at the Public Administration Building in Rua do Campo, as fellow commission members Inês Chan Lou (first from left), Iong Kong Leong (second from left), Lai U Hou (second from right) and Kou Peng Kuan look on.  Photo: Tony Wong

BACK HOME
MORE NEWS
COMMENT
Click refresh authentication code
TODAY'S COVER