Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam was among the first to vote, telling reporters later that the government "had not set any target" on the turnout rate, and she was not aware of any set by the Chinese leadership.Security was tight around the city, with 10,000 police deployed. Police chief Raymond Siu told reporters before the voting that the mass deployment was to ensure balloting at hundreds of polling stations across the city would be held safely and smoothly.
In the run-up to the election, more than 10 people were arrested for allegedly inciting people to cast blank ballots, including people who had reposted social media posts from others, according to government statements. It is illegal in Hong Kong to incite someone not to vote or cast an invalid vote.
Unlike previous polls, pro-democracy candidates are largely absent, having declined to run, gone into exile or been jailed. Some overseas activists and foreign governments, including the United States, say the electoral changes have reduced democratic representation in the city. The Chinese and Hong Kong authorities reject such criticisms, saying the electoral changes and a national security law that took effect last year are needed to enhance the city's governance and restore stability after mass anti-government protests in 2019.