Hong Kong sees record low voter turnout in first ‘China patriots only’ election
A record low voter turnout occurred in Hong Kong’s first “patriots only” legislative election. This reflects a decline in civic and political engagement after Beijing’s overhaul of the city’s election processes. Provisional turnout was 30.2% by the end of the polls, the previous record low was 43.6% in 2000. The city offered free public transport to the polls all day but many Hong Kongers took the free trains and busses to hiking trails and campsites.
Pro-establishment candidates claimed all 20 seats in the available constituencies and non of the city’s major pro-democracy parties had any candidates claim seats. Carrie Lam, the city’s leader thanked the voters Sunday night after the improvements to the electoral system. This election comes after the national security law which bans secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces and has transformed the city’s social and political structure. New electoral reforms were also passed in March giving the government greater vetting powers and lessening the public’s ability to vote directly. Also, only government-screened “patriots” or those loyal to Beijing and the Communist Party can stand for election.