GE2015: Singaporeans vote in three US cities

Mr Leow Wei Jen, 50, a Marine Parade constituent, was the first through the door at the Singapore Embassy in Washington DC.
Mr Leow Wei Jen, 50, a Marine Parade constituent, was the first through the door at the Singapore Embassy in Washington DC. ST PHOTO: MELISSA SIM
First-time voter Joy Sim, a Chua Chu Kang constituent.
First-time voter Joy Sim, a Chua Chu Kang constituent.ST PHOTO: MELISSA SIM
Mr Goh Tiong Ann, 22, was among the Singaporeans who turned up at the embassy in Washington DC to vote on Thursday (Sept 10).
Mr Goh Tiong Ann, 22, was among the Singaporeans who turned up at the embassy in Washington DC to vote on Thursday (Sept 10).ST PHOTO: MELISSA SIM
Mr Lai Zhenyu, 31, who works in e-commerce, and his wife, Ms Yuan Yin, 28, who is doing her doctorate in English at Boston College, were among the last few voters at the Singapore Embassy in Washington on Thursday (Sept 10).
Mr Lai Zhenyu, 31, who works in e-commerce, and his wife, Ms Yuan Yin, 28, who is doing her doctorate in English at Boston College, were among the last few voters at the Singapore Embassy in Washington on Thursday (Sept 10).ST PHOTO: MELISSA SIM

WASHINGTON - Polling for the 2015 General Election opened at 8am Washington time on Thursday (8pm Thursday Singapore time) and Mr Leow Wei Jen, 50, a Marine Parade constituent, was the first through the door at the Singapore Embassy.

He said he had been following the news in Singapore online and would base his vote on what he knew.

Even though he has been living in the United States for 17 years, he said: "It's important to vote because it's my country."

The polls also opened at 8am in New York City and 8am (11pm Singapore time) on the west coast in San Francisco.

 

A spokesman for the Singapore Embassy in Washington DC said the embassy had "posted information on their online platforms, encouraging registered voters to arrive early to vote and to bring along the required documents to facilitate a smooth voting process".

In Washington, many early voters came in office attire, ready to head off to work after casting their ballot. Many stopped to share their thoughts on the issues that mattered to them this election.

First-time voter Joy Sim, 24, a Chua Chu Kang constituent who works as a consultant, said she was concerned about issues such as housing, cost of living and her parents' retirement. 

Mr Daryl Sng, 37, a Tanjong Pagar voter, said he believed Singapore had succeeded because it is a great melting pot and he wanted to "vote for a party that is able to retain the Singapore core, but keep Singapore open and welcoming to others". 

Some voters had travelled many hours just to cast their ballot.

Student Goh Tiong Ann, 22, who is on an exchange programme at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said he travelled five hours by bus to get to Washington DC. 

The first-time voter said being overseas has made him more concerned about Singapore on the global stage.

"Once you travel, you realise we are small, it's true we are vulnerable and we should vote for people who can represent Singapore well on the international stage." 

Mr Lai Zhenyu, 31, who works in e-commerce and his wife Yuan Yin, 28, who is doing her doctorate in English at Boston College, were among the last few voters at the embassy before polling closed at 8pm on Thursday (8am Friday Singapore time). 

The couple, who are Bishan-Toa Payoh constituents, flew in from Boston to vote and to spend some time in the US capital.

"The election is once every five years, so as Singaporeans we are glad to take part and to vote," said Mr Lai. 

Other Singaporean voters also said they were glad to see that every seat is being contested this year. 

Ms Sim, who shuttles between Washington DC and San Francisco and has been living in the US for five years, said she was glad there was a selection of candidates. 

"It's exciting for me to be able to vote this year and important for me to do so as a citizen," said Ms Sim. 

simlinoi@sph.com.sg