SINGAPORE: Singaporeans will exercise their voting rights on Sep 1 to choose the country's ninth president.
The field of candidates for the 2023 Presidential Election - former GIC chief investment officer Ng Kok Song, former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam andformer NTUC Income chief executive Tan Kin Lian.
Ahead of the polls, there are some things voters need to take note of - the first of which should be knowing their designated polling station.
Eligible voters can use their Singpass mobile app to access anePoll card that may be used instead of physical poll cards, which should arrive in mailboxes within the week.
Here's what else you need to know:
DO I HAVE TO VOTE?
In short, yes. Voting in Singapore's election is compulsory for all who are eligible.
"It is a fundamental right of citizenship and a civic responsibility of citizens to choose and elect their leaders in a democracy," said theElections Department (ELD) on its website.
Polling Day is a public holiday and employers are required to give their workers "a reasonable period of time for them to vote" that falls between the polling hours from 8am to 8pm.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
Remember to leave home with yourNRIC and poll card.
For the former, an identity card issued by the Ministry of Defence, Singapore Police Force or Singapore Civil Defence Force will suffice for uniformed personnel.A valid passport will work too.
You will receive your poll card through the post at your latest residential address registered with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) about two to three working days after Nomination Day.
If you prefer to go digital, you may use the Singpass app to access both your digital IC and your ePoll card.
WHAT IF I HAVE A NEW ADDRESS?
The current Registers of Electors are compiled by electoral divisions based on voters’ addresses as of Jun 1 this year, according to the ELD website.
If you changed your address after that date, your new address will be reflected in the Registers only when they are next updated.
“Hence, if an election is called before the Registers are updated, you will be allocated to vote at a polling station in the electoral division where your previous address comes under,” said the department.
WHAT IF I WILL BE AWAY ON POLLING DAY?
Those who are unable to cast their vote on Polling Day will have their name struck from theRegisters of Electors after the election.
While those who are no longer on theRegisters of Electors will not be able to vote in future elections, you can apply to restore your status online using Singpass.
If you have a valid reason for not voting,no administrative fee will be levied. Otherwise, it will cost S$50 (US$37).
Some examples of valid reasons include working or studying overseas at the time of the poll, living with an overseas spouse, a vacation planned before the poll, illness or childbirth, according to the ELD.
More polling stations and active officials for Presidential Election 2023: ELD
CNA Explains: What you need to know about Singapore's upcoming Presidential Election
CAN I VOTE IF I AM LIVING OVERSEAS?
Overseas Singaporeans who have registered to vote at an overseas polling station have been sent an ePoll letter indicating the polling date and hours for their station, ELD said on Aug 23.
Singapore has 10 overseas polling stations in the following cities:Beijing, Canberra, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Tokyo and Washington.
These stations are selected for the "significant number" of Singaporeans living in the respective cities, according to the ELD.
Similar to voting in Singapore, these overseas stations will be open for 12 hours, between 8am and 8pm at the local time of their respective cities.
An alternative option for those who do not live near any of the designated overseas polling stations is to vote by post.
Postal voting will be used for the first time in an election, after changes to Singapore's election laws were passed earlier this year. More than 3,400 Singaporeans overseas have registered to vote by post.
Note that post and overseas voting are only options for Singaporeans who are living overseas.
These avenues are not available to you you if you happen to be overseas on Polling Day while on vacation, for example.
If you're living overseas but will be back in Singapore on Polling Day, you can simply cast your vote at yourallotted polling station in Singapore.
IS THERE A BEST TIME TO VOTE?
While there is no foolproof way to ensure your instant procession through the polling station,some improvements have been made to the voting process to ease the pains some may have felt during the2020 General Election.
In 2020,voting time was extended to 10pm on Polling Day as long queues and delays at some stations meant that some voters could not vote by the original closing time of 8pm.
Drawing on lessons learned, the ELD has increased the number of polling stations from 1,097to 1,264 - a 15 per cent increase. This will bring down the average amount of voters allocated to each station from2,400 to 2,150.
Other improvements include moreregistration and ballot paper counters at polling stations and increasing the number ofactive election officials.
Voters will also have a more convenient way to check the queue status at polling stations by accessing the VoteQ link via their ePoll card on the Singpass app and on ELD's website.They can also scan the QR code on their poll card.
The ELD is also replacing the X-pen, which was introduced in 2020, with the X-stamp.
While most voters used the X-pen correctly by stamping it on the ballot paper, some voters mistook the X-pen to be an actual pen and tried to write a cross with it, said ELD.
To avoid any confusion, the X-stamp is “wider and more clearly intended to serve as a stamp”.
All 3 candidates who qualified for Presidential Election face challenges ahead: Analysts
Presidential Election: Teachers' Day school holiday pushed back due to Polling Day; N-Level exams rescheduled
HOW ABOUT SENIOR VOTERS, CAREGIVERS?
The voting areas at polling stations will havespecial drop-off pointsfor vehicles conveying senior voters and those with special needs.
These areas are barrier-free, with wheelchairs provided for voters who need them. These voters will also be offered priority queuing for theissuance of ballot papers.
One caregiverwill be allowed to wait in the priority queue with such voters, provided they are valid voters. Those who are not eligible will not be allowed to enter the polling station.
If help is needed, an election official will be on hand to guide the voter through the voting process. They will then meet up with their caregiver at the exit.
Election officials will alsobe able to assist those who are unable to mark the ballot paper themselves. These officials are sworn under oath to keep the voter's choice secret.
Visually impaired voters will be provided with stencils to allow them to cast their votes independently.
HOW ABOUT THOSE IN NURSING HOMES?
About 25 to 30 nursing homes across Singapore are participating in a pilot programme.
Polling stations will be set up on-site and mobile polling teams may be deployed to bring the ballot boxes and papers to voters who are bed-bound.
The new arrangements are made possible bychanges to Singapore's election lawsthat were passed in Parliament in March this year.
The ELD had been collecting feedback fromnursing home operators, among other stakeholders,on introducing special voting arrangements to improve voting accessibility.
Everything you need to know about the Singapore Presidential Election: cna.asia/pe2023