How the upcoming election will differ from past polls

The next general election will be held amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Here's what voting will look like.

Singaporeans will go to the polls on July 10, with Nomination Day taking place next Tuesday. Yuen Sin takes a look at the key changes and new measures for the election.

1 MORE MP SEATS

The number of seats in the next Parliament will grow from 89 to 93.

The minimum number of opposition MPs, including Non-Constituency MPs (NCMPs), will go up from nine to 12, as a result of changes made to the NCMP scheme in 2016.

NCMPs will be given the same voting rights as elected MPs.


2 NEW CONSTITUENCIES

There are four new single seats: Punggol West, which has been carved out of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC; Kebun Baru, formerly part of Nee Soon GRC; Marymount, previously from Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC; Yio Chu Kang, which had been part of Ang Mo Kio GRC.


3 KEY BOUNDARY CHANGES

Residents in the Joo Seng area of Marine Parade GRC will move to Potong Pasir SMC, while residents of Lorong 8 Toa Payoh will now vote in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

Fengshan residents are now part of East Coast GRC.

More than half of Sengkang West's residents will join the new four-member Sengkang GRC, with the rest going to Ang Mo Kio GRC.

Punggol East residents will also vote in Sengkang GRC.


4 NO PHYSICAL RALLIES

No police permits will be granted for rallies and no gatherings of supporters will be allowed. Campaigning can be carried out online.

Walkabouts are limited to no more than five people in each group.

No mixing is allowed between groups.


5 CONSTITUENCY POLITICAL BROADCASTS

For the first time, constituency political broadcasts will air on Mediacorp's Channel 5.

Each single-member constituency candidate gets three minutes for these broadcasts.

Each group of GRC candidates gets 12 or 15 minutes, depending on the group representation constituency size.

This is in addition to the two party political broadcasts on 19 TV/radio channels, up from 13 TV/radio channels in 2015.


6 PRECAUTIONS AGAINST FOREIGN INTERFERENCE

Political parties have been told to watch out for foreign interference and cyber-security risks during the election.


7 VOTERS ON STAY-HOME NOTICE

Special polling stations will be set up for people on stay-home notice (SHN) at designated facilities such as hotels.

For other affected voters, such as those serving SHN at home, the Elections Department will consult the Health Ministry to assess the public health risks of allowing them to vote.


8 PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES AT POLLING STATIONS

Voters will be given recommended two-hour time slots to visit polling stations.

Morning slots will be reserved for seniors.

Temperature screening at the stations will sieve out those with fever or respiratory symptoms. Whether these groups will be allowed to vote will depend on the prevailing Covid-19 situation during the polls.


9 SAFER AND SMOOTHER PROCESS FOR CASTING VOTES

New self-inking pens, which will allow voters to easily stamp an "X" for the party of their choice, will be used. Cleaners will be deployed at all polling stations to clean items and areas described as "common touch points" such as the self-inking pens and polling booths. They will do so at least once every half an hour.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2020, with the headline 'How the upcoming election will differ from past polls'. Print Edition | Subscribe