12 October 2021
With Polling Day just around the corner on Wednesday, 13 October 2021, candidates running in the General Election and people planning to vote are reminded of the following offences under the Elections Ordinance, 2009:
The offence of treating is committed by any person who corruptly by himself or herself or by any other person either before, during or after an election directly or indirectly gives or provides, or pays wholly or in part the expenses of giving or providing any food, drink, entertainment or provision to or for any person –
(a) For the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or any other person to vote or refrain from voting at such election; or
(b) On account of such person or any other person having voted or refrained from voting at such election.
An elector who corruptly accepts or takes any such food, drink, entertainment or provision commits the offence of treating.
The offence of undue influence is committed by any person who directly or indirectly by himself or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence or restraint, or inflicts or threatens to inflict by himself or herself or by any other person any injury, damage, harm or loss upon or against any person –
(a) In order to induce or compel such person to vote or refrain from voting: or
(b) On account of such person having voted or refrained from voting at an election.
Any person who by abduction, duress or any fraudulent contrivance impedes or prevents the free exercise of the franchise of any elector or thereby compels, induces or prevails upon any elector either to give or refrain from giving his or her vote at an election commits the offence of undue influence.
Bribery is one of a number of corrupt practices that, in connection with a election, is an offence under the Elections Ordinance.
Bribery covers a range of conduct, either before, during or after an election and whether done directly or indirectly.
That range includes offering money, offering other things of value and offering or promising office or employment to induce an elector to vote, or not to vote. The offence may also be committed by making gifts, loans, payments, arrangements or otherwise providing finance to be expended in bribery or receiving or contracting for such payments or promises connected with voting.
The penalties for each offence as per section 25 of the Ordinance is a fine of £2,000 and imprisonment for 18 months, or both.
A person convicted of a corrupt practice may not, for seven years after the date of the
conviction, be registered as an elector or vote at an election of a Member or be elected a Member, or if elected before conviction, retain his or her seat as a Member.
11 October 2021