Make overseas voting easier for Singaporeans

On Polling Day on Sept 11, I was among three Singaporean families in Copenhagen, Denmark, gathered for dinner.

We watched the live streaming of the election results intensely.

While we ate our version of Hokkien mee, we were rowdy, opinionated and proudly Singaporean.

Among us, one had gone to London earlier to cast her vote. The rest of us had not registered to vote overseas, or could not find time or resources to fly to London to vote.

With more than 200,000 Singaporeans living overseas, we could easily constitute a group representation constituency. We make up a significant minority.

But with fewer than 4,000 overseas votes cast, is it worth the effort and trouble to cater to overseas voters in the first place?

If not, then this privilege should be stopped. If overseas voters still matter, then more effort must be made to ensure that more can vote.

With a short voter registration period and just a handful of overseas polling stations, the current situation is far from ideal.

What can be done to make voting easier and more convenient for overseas Singaporeans? Many countries around the world engage their overseas voters successfully. What can we learn from them?

Together with many Singaporeans overseas, I hope our desire to contribute to the electoral process will be made easier by the next general election.

We do not have a Member of Parliament to represent us, but we hope the new Parliament will address our concerns.

Ooi Can Seng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2015, with the headline 'Make overseas voting easier for Singaporeans'. Print Edition | Subscribe