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Singapore GE2020: Voting for the first time this election? Here are a few important reminders to note

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Singapore's General Election season is here, with Polling Day on Jul 10.

Singapore is officially in election season. 

For many youths, this will be their first time casting their ballots. Politics aside, the procedures to vote could be confusing and complicated - especially since it's not something we are taught in school. 

So here are a few general notes about the procedures to calm the nerves and get you ready for Polling Day

Voting is compulsory 

As long as you are a Singaporean citizen aged 21 and above, voting is compulsory for you. If you are a true blue Singaporean and feeling a bit kiasu, you can check your eligibility to vote and your particulars in the Registers of Electors through this link.

While you will not be jailed for not voting, you will, however, be unable to vote in future elections. So avoid the hassle and do your duty as a Singaporean citizen by queuing up to vote on Polling Day. Besides, Polling Day will be considered a public holiday so there will be even less of an excuse not to vote. 

Some of the acceptable reasons include having to work or study overseas at the time of the poll, or living with their spouse who is working or studying overseas, overseas vacation, and illness or delivering a baby. 

Safety distancing measures this election season 

While there is an unprecedented pandemic sweeping the globe, it doesn't mean that we should put Singapore's democratic process on hold. There will be a slew of safe distancing measures to cope with the outbreak when Polling Day comes around.

safe-distancing-measures
There are safety measures put in place for this year
's elections. 
PHOTO CREDIT: ADAM NIEĊšCIORUK VIA UNSPLASH 

These measures include an allocated time band for each voter, and a dedicated website to check the queue status at polling stations to prevent overcrowding. You can find out more here

What to bring for polling day and what to expect 

Each voter must bring along their original NRIC or passport to the polling station - photocopies of these documents will not be allowed. Voters will also have to bring along their poll card, which will be mailed to them after Nomination Day if a qualified elector's constituency is contested. 

Make sure that the particulars are correct before heading to the polling station. You will only be able to vote at the polling station in your poll card. 

ballot-paper
This is what a poll card will look like, with the
">>>" sign indicated for elderly electors to join the express queue. 
PHOTO CREDIT: ELECTIONS DEPARTMENT SINGAPORE

Voters will have to wear a mask and adhere to the one-metre safe distancing rule. Upon arrival at the polling station, expect temperature screenings to be conducted at the start of the queue. Voters will then have to lower their mask to the election official for identity verification, before scanning their NRIC for electronic registration. 

Voters will receive their ballot paper after sanitising their hands and putting on disposable gloves. Voters will indicate their choice by marking 'X' on the ballot paper, before casting it into a ballot box. Voters are then to leave the polling station without delay. 

In order to maintain voter secrecy and the integrity of the elections, voters should not make any marks or signatures on the ballot paper for identification, or show their ballot paper to anyone else in the polling station. Similarly, voters should not look to find out how any other voter intends to vote or bring the ballot paper out of the polling station. 

A few more don'ts of voting

If the details on your poll card are incorrect, please do not alter or write anything on it. Call the Elections Department or visit any community centre to obtain another poll card. 

Impersonating another voter is an offence, so you should only vote for yourself. No Pets or children will be allowed inthe polling station while any bags brought to the station may be subjected to security checks at the station. 

The law prohibits canvassing and all forms of election activity on Polling Day (except voting) so do not bring any document or material, or wear any attire or badge, which shows a political party's or candidate's symbol. 

And a particular reminder for the youths: Handphones, cameras, alcohol, sharp objects, campaign materials and large bags should not be brought or used in the polling station. So no selfies with the ballot box. 

For the latest updates regarding the upcoming elections, do consider following the Elections Department's Telegram

BANNER AND TEASER IMAGE CREDIT: ELEMENT5 DIGITAL VIA UNSPLASH.

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