GE2015: Your guide to Polling Day

Polling Day falls on Friday, Sept 11.
Polling Day falls on Friday, Sept 11.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Polling Day falls on Friday, Sept 11. For those heading to the polls, here's what you need to know:

1. What time do polling stations open?

The 832 polling stations across Singapore open at 8am and close at 8pm. The waiting can be longer in the morning peak period, so there is no need to go precisely at 8am.

2. How do I know which polling station to go to?

You should have received a polling card in the mail by now. The Elections Department (ELD) sends the polling cards to eligible voters to their last-known address on their identity card before Polling Day.


You can only go to the station indicated on your polling card. You can also call the Elections Department or go to the ELD website and log in to find out where your polling station is.

Voters who have not received their polling card should call the election hotline, e-mail the Elections Department or visit any community centre/club to obtain another polling card. 

3. What should I wear?

There is no dress code, but do not wear any attire or badge which shows a political party's or candidate's symbol. The law prohibits canvassing and all forms of election activity on Polling Day, except voting.

4. What do I need to bring?

Bring your

1) polling card, and

2) original identification documents, which can be your identity card or passport.

Photocopies are not accepted.

5. What should I not bring?

Things not to bring into the polling station include cameras, video cameras, alcohol, sharp objects, large bags and animals/pets (except guide dogs).

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

Children will not be allowed into the polling area.

6. What does the ballot paper look like?

This election, candidates' photos will be added to enable voters to better identify who they wish to vote for. Other changes to the format of the ballot paper include white boxes against a darkened background, and wider gaps between the boxes to mark "X" to prevent voters from marking across boxes of different rows.

7. What if I am late?

Do not be late, as voters who are late will not be allowed to vote, even if they are in the queue before the station closes.

8. How can the blind and physically disabled vote?

The ELD has made it easier for the elderly, physically disabled and visually impaired to vote.

For the visually impaired, stencils will be provided so that they can mark the ballot paper themselves without assistance.

Polling station sites have been chosen based on factors such as safety, security and accessibility, with most at void decks and precinct pavilions.

There will be special drop-off points near the voting areas for vehicles conveying elderly voters or those who are physically disabled. A priority queue will be set up for these voters at the polling stations.

Wheelchairs will also be provided for those who need them and polling booths will be equipped with a lower deck for these voters to more easily mark their vote.

9. What if I am busy on polling day?

You must vote in person and cannot appoint a proxy to cast your vote for you.

Polling Day is designated a public holiday and employers need to give employees a reasonable period of time to cast their vote.

Those who did not vote will have their names removed from the registers of electors, but they can apply to have their names restored after the election.

10. What if I am living overseas?

Singapore citizens residing overseas must have applied to be registered as an overseas elector to vote at one of 10 designated overseas polling stations.

The citizen needs to have stayed in Singapore for a total of at least 30 days between Feb 1, 2012, and Jan 31, 2015.

Registration was suspended for both local and overseas voters when the writ of election was issued on Aug 25.

The overseas polling stations are located within 10 Singapore high commissions, embassies or consulates in Canberra, London, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Dubai, Washington, San Francisco and New York.

All overseas electors who are eligible to vote at an overseas polling station should receive a poll letter from the ELD mailed to his overseas address.

It will contain details of the date and hours of polling and his allotted overseas polling station.

A similar letter will be e-mailed to electors who have provided their e-mail addresses in their application forms. Overseas electors may also access the Elections Department's eServices here with their SingPass to know their Polling Day details.

11. How do I vote?

Show your poll card and identity documents, then follow the directions of the election officials on duty at the polling station.

You may be asked to make a declaration of identity and sign the declaration before being given a ballot paper.

Mark your choice clearly with an "X" in the box on the right of the ballot paper, beside the name, photo and symbol of the candidate of your choice.

To cast a valid vote:

* Clearly choose only one party.

* Do not write your name or particulars that may identify you.

* You have only one chance at this. If you change your mind or mark the wrong candidate, you will not get a new ballot paper. This prevents a person from casting multiple votes, and enables strict accounting of all ballots issued and cast.

Then fold your ballot paper over your mark so as to cover your choice and drop the ballot paper into a ballot box.

12. Will I be penalised for spoiling my vote?

No, but you will have missed the opportunity to exercise your right to vote.

13. What are the do's and don'ts?

* Do respect the privacy of other voters.

* Do double-check your particulars on your polling card, including your name, identity card number and polling station location.

* Don't bring the ballot paper out of the polling station. This is an offence.

* Don't put anything else into the ballot box.

* Don't use your mobile phone in the polling station.

14. How are votes counted?

Votes are counted by hand at counting centres by election officials. Counting centres are typically schools or community centres.

After the close of polling at 8pm, the ballot boxes are sealed and transported from the polling station to the counting centre under police escort.

At the counting centre, the candidates and their counting agents may inspect the boxes again to ensure they have not been tampered with.

15. When will we know the results?

For the first time, the Elections Department will make public the results of sample counts for each of the constituencies soon after polling stations close at 8pm on Polling Day.

This means voters will get a rough idea of the results - except for those in close contests - from around 10pm, instead of having to wait past midnight, as in previous elections.

This aims to prevent speculation or misinformation from unofficial sources while counting is underway.


16. How can I know the results?

Get live updates on the Straits Times election site at

The offical results will be telecast live on television. Returning officer Ng Wai Choong will announce the results.

17. When will there be a recount?

A recount of votes may be allowed if the difference in votes between two candidates is 2 per cent or less of the total number of valid votes cast. Only one application for a recount can be made.

In the 2011 General Election, a recount was held for Potong Pasir SMC. The People's Action Party's Sitoh Yih Pin beat the Singapore People's Party's Lina Chiam to win the seat with just 114 votes, or a mere 0.7 percentage point.

There was another close call in Nee Soon Central SMC in 1991, when the Singapore Democratic Party's Cheo Chai Chen won with a 0.6 percentage point margin. A recount confirmed that just 168 votes separated him from PAP incumbent Ng Pock Too.

18. Where are the assembly centres on Polling Day?

There are 18 designated assembly centres where electoral candidates, their supporters and members of the public can gather to await the announcement of results after the polls close at 8pm.

Contesting parties and independent candidates can apply for only one assembly centre site in each zone that they are contesting in, the police said.

The list of assembly centres allocated will be announced on Sept 10 after permit applications close.

19. Is my vote secret? If not, why is there a serial number on the ballot?

Yes, it is. The serial number is to counter electoral fraud.

The serial numbers enable strict accounting of all ballot papers issued and cast. The number of papers found in the ballot box at the end of the election can be matched to the number of papers issued during the poll. This prevents ballot box stuffing.

Theoretically, it is possible for anyone with access to the ballot papers to identify who cast a particular vote. The counterfoil has the voter's registration number on it and matching that to the ballot paper and the electoral register will help reveal a voter's identity. This is used as evidence if there is an allegation of impersonation.

However, ballot papers can be examined only under strict conditions; safeguards are in place to make it difficult to find out how any particular voter voted.

After the election, the ballot papers and election documents are sealed and kept at the Supreme Court for six months before being destroyed.

20. Who should I vote for?

That is for you to answer.