Why so few overseas voters?

As an overseas voter, I was surprised to learn that there are only 4,868 Singaporeans eligible to vote at overseas polling stations for this general election ("How to check where to cast your vote"; last Thursday).

Singapore has a citizen population of about 3.3 million, of which around 212,000 are overseas.

Based on the average resident population profile, I calculate that roughly 78 per cent, or 165,360, are above the age of 20. Those above the age of 21 are eligible to vote.

Where are the missing overseas voters?

There may be several reasons for this small number of eligible overseas voters.

They may not be interested to vote, they may not have registered to vote (for various reasons), they may live too far from a polling station, or they may not have fulfilled the criteria for registration.

It is disappointing that so few Singaporeans overseas are eligible to vote, given the importance of elections and our joint ownership of this nation.

Perhaps the authorities could consider allocating some funds and time to better understand this statistic.

Ng Wee Chew (Ms)


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2015, with the headline 'Why so few overseas voters?'. Print Edition | Subscribe