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Thursday January 24th 2019

Ten things you should know about voting on 11 Sep

Ten things you should know about voting on 11 Sep:-

1. Your vote is secret

People are still sceptical that their vote is secret due to the serial number printed on the ballot papers and polling card.

The serial number is in fact a safeguard against electoral fraud as even countries like the UK is using numbered ballot papers to protect the voters.

As there is no name printed on the voting slip, it will be a tall order for anyone who wants to check who the particular voter is.

Imagine going through 2.4 million voting slips by matching serial number to the master list and why should the government do that? There are 40% of us voting for opposition and so far no one has being call up for persecution or interrogation.

Why are you so special?

After counting, the boxes are sealed back again and kept for six months at the Supreme Court before being send to the incinerator plant.

However, the discovery of several empty ballot boxes in a store room after the Presidential Election has raised doubts about the transparency of our election and it is advisable that polling agents of opposition parties be on the extra alert for this coming election.

Its a crucial election to say the least as many voters are prepared to swing their votes against the incumbent.

2. Calling out of names loudly at the polling station

The loud calling of the voters’ names and IC number at the polling station has also raised fear in many of our citizens who are long ruled in a repressed environment.

However, the calling of name and IC number is a authentic way to verify to the contestants that the voter is indeed the person named in the polling card and not some forger.

The whole solemn atmosphere may strike fear in many of our elderly voters who are trained to be compliant and submissive to authorities. The presence of stern-looking police officers do not help the situation.

As a candidate at Tampines GRC in GE 2011, I have asked civil servants serving at polling station not to shout out the name and IC number of individual voter too loud as everyone in the station could know who the person is.

The officer replied  that they were told to say out the name and IC number of voters as audibly as possible so there is no margin for error.

We knew that voters who wanted to vote for the opposition were intimidated by this loud shouting of the name publicly and changed their mind last minute out of fear. The numbers affected could be large enough to affect wards like Potong Pasir which were lost by less than 200 votes.

Its a psychological fear and probably affect those who are elderly and lowly educated.

You also need to bring along your polling card and IC before you are allowed to cast your vote at the station. Failure to bring both or either one of the documents will disqualify you from voting.

3. Those who didn’t vote at Presidential Election (PE) were impugned

Many people have checked with me why they couldn’t vote at the coming election and most of them confirmed that they didn’t vote at PE.

If you didn’t vote at the previous GE 2011 or PE, then you will lose the chance to vote again this time round.

You need to register with Elections Department again so you can vote in the next election after this one.

Voting is compulsory here though so far no one has being persecuted for not doing so.

4. Voting age

I believe you must be age 21 years old and above before you are eligible to vote.

The cut-off month should be in February this year and anyone whose birthday falls after that month are not eligible to vote.

You have to then wait for the next election before you can vote.

5.  Overseas voters

Overseas voters can now vote at the ten qualifying stations abroad.

They have to however apply to vote overseas first before they are eligible to vote at any of the ten overseas voting stations.

They are also given the chance to vote back home if they so desire.

I urge every Singaporean voter to fly back to vote for change if they have the means – treat it like a holiday to visit your family as well.

Singapore is in dire straits now and we need our 75,000-strong overseas Singaporean voters to return home to perform their national duty before it is too late.

6. Polling stations open from 8am to 8pm

Polling stations are open from 8am to 8pm so do plan your day in advance so you can vote in peace.

Many people like to vote in the morning so they can get it done with but do avoid peak period from 8am to 11am as the queue can be an hour long.

The best period to vote is between 4pm to 6pm as most people have already voted by then.

Try not to wait till the last minute eg 7.45pm to vote as there is the risk that any eventual delay may cause you to miss out on the chance to vote.

7. Void votes

Many voters prefer to void their votes and return a blank voting slip.

However, majority votes for the winning contestant are counted without taking into consideration the void votes.

Foe example, if one out of ten votes is voided and the winning party has 6 out of the 10 counted votes, the majority votes of 6 out of 9 will be used for computation.

So, if you want to bring down the overall majority votes of the incumbent to send a subtle message, please vote for the opposition.

Besides sending in more opposition candidates into Parliament, we also need to lower the majority votes of the ruling party to send them a direct message of no-confidence.

8. Wearing of attire with political affiliation

We ever saw some voters who were turned away at the polling station as their attire carries affiliation to a political party.

So wear something plain and casual to vote and after that you can relax with your friends before turning in to watch the result later on in the evening.

9. Counting agent

Counting agent plays an important role in the election especially for closely-contested wards.

My experience told me that if you press hard enough for a ambiguous vote the counting officer will give it to you.

Chances are a party will lose out if it does not have enough counting agents as the other contestant. PAP usually station 6 to 8 counting agents in any counting station.

Do station at least a minimum of 4 to 6 counting agents to arbitrate in votes that are uncertain – the percentage can be a astounding 3 to 5% of the total votes counted.

Do volunteer to be a counting agent if you have the time. Be prepared to stay till midnight or early morning in the event of a recount.

10. Recount

Recount is good news for the contestant as it means the margin is very close – often not more than 2 to 3 percent of total votes counted.

Everything will be brought out and a recount will be activated as contestants swear through the night.

For those whose margin is less than one or two percent, a recount can be especially nerve-racking.

There are several recount in the previous GE as some wards were lost by few hundred votes eg Potong Pasir.

Written by: Gilbert Goh

Number of View: 1129

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