Voting in the Singapore General Election
Before the Polling Day, registered voters of a contested constituency will receive a poll card mailed to their latest NRIC address. The poll card indicates and informs the voter who the candidates are, where the polling is held etc.
On Polling Day, registered voters can go to their allotted polling stations at any time between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to cast their votes. Pursuant to Section 39A Parliamentary Elections Act (PEA), Singapore citizens abroad who have been registered as overseas voters can cast their votes at the overseas polling stations allotted to them.
Every voter is given one ballot paper and is entitled to one vote. The voter, on receiving the ballot paper, must without undue delay, mark the ballot paper with his choice of vote, fold the paper and put the paper into the ballot box before leaving the polling station.
The maintenance of secrecy at the GE is mandated in law under Section 56 PEA. Apart from making an oath of secrecy, every officer, clerk, interpreter, candidate and agent authorised to attend at a polling station or at the counting of the votes must maintain and aid in maintaining the secrecy of voting in the station by undertaking not to divulge any information relating to the polling at any time to any person. Anyone who acts in contravention of Section 56 will be guilty of a criminal offence.
Safeguards are also put in place to uphold the confidentiality and integrity of the votes. For example, ballot boxes are constructed such that ballot papers may not be withdrawn from the box unless the seal or lock of the box is broken. Voters are also required to secretly mark the ballot paper and fold it to conceal the vote before putting the paper into the ballot box.
At the end of the voting window, the ballot boxes are sealed and transported to counting places where the votes are compiled by the Returning Officer and counted in the presence of the candidates. If overseas votes have no impact on the outcome of the election, the Returning Officer will declare the candidate or group of candidates to whom the greatest number of votes is given to be elected. Otherwise, the declaration of the elected candidate or group of candidates will be deferred until the day the overseas votes are counted. Pursuant to Section 51 PEA, the final election results and a statement of the poll will be published by the Returning Officer in the Gazette immediately after the declaration of the election results.
Once the election results have been published, the newly-elected MPs assume office in their respective Town Councils. The opening of the newly-constituted Parliament will also follow soon after the election results are published.
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