The Hong Kong Chinese Civil Servants' Association wants the government to conduct a "comprehensive, deep and objective" investigation to find out the truth of the delay, or it is afraid that there will not be enough civil servants working in the Legislative Council election in December and the chief executive election in March.

The Election Committee election last month took 14 hours to count 4,380 ballots from five polling stations. Authorities counted the votes overnight and only finalized results at 8am the day after polling ended.

The chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission, Barnabas Fung Wah, later apologized for the delay and admitted the process of delivering the ballot boxes and vote counting was unsatisfactory.

He said initial findings showed there were human errors or errors of judgment with the frontline staff as they failed to react quickly to seek help when they encountered problems.

Ballot papers were also jammed during the vote counting, but that was resolved after resetting the machines.

The association said yesterday that the vote-count delay exceeded many people's expectations, including the civil servants who were helping out at the polling stations and the central counting station.

It said the civil servants originally thought they could go home at around 2am and rest for a few hours before going to work, based on the information provided by the Electoral Affairs Commission.

"But it turns out they could only wash their faces or take showers at home before rushing to work again," it said.

The association also said many of the civil servants felt they had been wronged after seeing people's criticisms. "If we put all the blame of the vote-count delay onto the civil servants working that night, it may be more difficult for the coming two elections to recruit sufficient numbers of civil servants," the association warned.

Upon its members' requests, the association sent a letter yesterday suggesting the SAR government and the Electoral Affairs Commission conduct an investigation to address doubts cast by the public.