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Electoral Commission: Repeat signatures under scrutiny

After receiving eight applications for independent electoral parties, the Electoral Commission for this year’s Legislative Assembly elections found 14 people had repeated signatures

The Electoral Commission for the 2017 Legislative Assembly (AL) elections has received eight applications for independent electoral parties, finding 14 people signed more than one candidacy list.
“The committee requested the government contact the people that signed their name more than once to know what happened and what candidacy they actually support. So far, of those involved, we have contacted seven individuals,” Commission Chairman and judge of the Court of Second Instance, Tong Hio Fong, said yesterday.
Mr. Tong said the process of analysing if the electoral parties’ applications possess all legal requirements to be authorised is still ongoing, with each electoral candidacy only able to get a legal certificate if it has the required number of signatures.
According to MSAR Electoral Law, any resident not in a political association can form an independent electoral party, with the minimum number of signatures collected being set at 300 and the maximum 500.
All members that are part of the candidacy have to present their MSAR Resident Identity Card (BIR), with one member designated party representative.
All applications for electoral parties have to be submitted by June 20, with the electoral committee having to decide up to eleven days after that date if the application is considered legal, and notify its representative.
After being notified of any issues found in the candidacy, the representative has five days to resolve them, after which the application will be refused.
Electoral party representatives can also appeal to the Court of Final Appeal for the refusal to be revoked.

Should have known better
When questioned if there would be any legal consequences for the people with repeated signatures, Mr. Tong only said “all data about the cases” still had to be analysed before coming to any decision.
The Commission chairman denied that there was failure in informing residents of the election’s relevant legislation and regulations, stating information of the matter had started being divulged one or two months before the Electoral Commission was created in January of this year.
“The person responsible for collecting the necessary signatures should pay attention to these matters,” he added.
The Commission Chairman also stated that no complaints by gaming operators’ workers, involving requests by employers to sign applications of electoral parties, had been received.
In May, the Electoral Commission met with the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ) to warn about any possible support by gaming operators towards election candidates, with the Commission Chairman requesting the “impartiality” of gaming companies before the elections scheduled for September 17.