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Urging people to spoil or cast blank ballots in elections to become a crime in Hong Kong

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People who “openly incite” voters to cast blank or invalid ballots in an election could face legal action, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Tuesday, as the government unveiled more details of a Beijing-led overhaul of the city’s elections.

Carrie Lam (middle) at a press conference on April 13, 2021. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

A new bill due to come before the city’s Legislative Council (Legco) later this week will outline plans to make it illegal for anyone to encourage people not to vote and spoil or leave their ballot paper blank. Also, those who “wilfully obstruct and prevent” others from voting in an election will be considered to have engaged in “corrupt conduct”.

However, Lam said the right of individuals to cast a blank vote or spoil their ballot paper in the privacy of the voting booth will remain protected.

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