Let overseas ballot be cast earlier

There are 3,104 Singaporeans who have registered to vote overseas at the next general election, as at the end of last month ("3,104 Singaporeans abroad sign up to vote"; yesterday).

Based on past practices, overseas votes are counted a few days after Polling Day, when all votes cast in Singapore are counted.

This raises a serious question on the secrecy of the vote.

Given the very small population of Singaporeans overseas, it may well happen that an individual finds himself the only person registered to vote overseas in his constituency, especially if it is a single-member one.

If votes are counted separately, there is no longer any secrecy.

Even if there are a few voters for a particular constituency, secrecy is still compromised if they all vote for the same political party.

To uphold secrecy, the Elections Department could consider adopting the practice in some countries where overseas and postal votes close a few days earlier, and these voting slips are mixed and counted together with local voting slips.

This ensures secrecy and upholds the integrity of the voting system.

Wen Khai Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2015, with the headline 'Let overseas ballot be cast earlier'. Print Edition | Subscribe