|Turnout rate exceeds 69 percent by 9.30pm|
Hong Kong voters turned out in record numbers to vote in the District Council elections, held in the midst of the city’s worst social unrest and framed as a referendum on the governance of beleaguered Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yue-ngor.
When voting ended by 10.30pm, dozens were still queueing up outside a Tseung Kwan O polling station. Those who had been in the queue before the cut off time will be allowed to finish their voting.
By 9.30pm, more than 2.85 million voters – 69 percent of all 4.13 million registered electorates, had cast their votes, breaking the city's record for all SAR direct elections at 58.28 percent in the 2016 Legislative Council election.
By 9.30pm, Tsuen Wan District saw the highest turnout rate at 69.08 percent. All districts saw a turnout rate over 71 percent.
After eight hours into polling by 3.30pm, over 1.95 voters – 47.26 percent of all electorates – have casted their votes, surpassing the end-of-day polling rate of 47.01 percent in 2015.
In the first six hours of voting, 1.5 million out of an electorate of 4.13 million people have already voted – exceeding the number of voters in 2015 in absolute terms.
Continuing social unrest was seen as the major spur to send people to ballot boxes but Ivan Choy Chi-keung of the Chinese University of Hong Kong said a high turnout in an election when a government lacks popularity would usually favor pan-democrats, but it was hard to tell who had “an absolute advantage.”
“Recent protests are definitely the major force drawing voters, including those who are against the government and people who want to resume peaceful and stable lives,” he said.
Choy said the election result could also be seen as a referendum on the protest movement's five major demands.
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