Responding to concerns that individual polling booths shrouded in a cloth would make it simple for voters to take a photo of their ballot paper to show who they voted for, especially if they had been coerced into voting for a particular group, the Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Committee (CAEAL) said in a statement Monday that the design of the polling booths would protect voters’privacy.
The committee also said the staff at the polling stations would be able to see whether voters take any photos after casting their ballot.
According to the statement cited by The Macau Post Daily, the government removed the cloth shrouding the polling booths to prevent voters from using mobile phones and cameras in the 2005 legislative elections. The same arrangement was applied in 2009, yet some voters then complained that other voters could see their ballot papers from other voting booths.
The committee said it had taken notice of the comments in the elections in 2005 and 2009 and studied the designs of polling booths in other regions and countries.
In the city’s three dummy polling stations set up last Sunday all booths down to about knee height are completely covered with a cloth.
According to the statement, the committee has carried out several tests on the polling booths which will be covered with semi-transparent cloth.
The committee said in the statement it believed that staff at each polling station would be vigilant. It also said the staff would be positioned at a distance from the booths which would prevent photography but maintain privacy.
The committee also said in the statement it was prohibited to take or use any electronic device with a camera function like mobile phones when entering a polling station. Citizens violating the regulation will face criminal charges.(macaunews)