Many queue at polling centres before they open

People waiting to cast their ballots at Pei Chun Public School in Toa Payoh Lorong 7 yesterday. At polling stations, many voters formed long lines long before the opening time of 8am. Candidates from various parties were also seen visiting various po
People waiting to cast their ballots at Pei Chun Public School in Toa Payoh Lorong 7 yesterday. At polling stations, many voters formed long lines long before the opening time of 8am. Candidates from various parties were also seen visiting various polling centres.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Above: Elderly voters, some in wheelchairs and motorised mobility devices, heading to vote at Block 62B in Toa Payoh Lorong 4.
Above: Elderly voters, some in wheelchairs and motorised mobility devices, heading to vote at Block 62B in Toa Payoh Lorong 4. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
A voter at Teck Ghee Primary School on the morning of Polling Day.
A voter at Teck Ghee Primary School on the morning of Polling Day. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Early voters waiting at the holding area at Pei Chun Public School in Toa Payoh Lorong 7.
Early voters waiting at the holding area at Pei Chun Public School in Toa Payoh Lorong 7. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, casting their ballots at Nanyang
Girls' High School.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, casting their ballots at Nanyang Girls' High School. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Boxes being sealed (above) before they are transported to the counting centres.
Boxes being sealed (above) before they are transported to the counting centres. ST PHOTOS: LIM SIN THAI, DESMOND FOO
At Bedok Town Secondary School (above), counting assistants pouring out ballots from the boxes before counting them.
At Bedok Town Secondary School (above), counting assistants pouring out ballots from the boxes before counting them. ST PHOTOS: LIM SIN THAI, DESMOND FOO

Retirees, some in wheelchairs, among the early birds who arrive before 8am

Dashing into a Yishun polling station three minutes before 8pm, Mr Sree Rangan was among the last voters of the day.

"I overslept," said the 36-year-old security officer, who took a taxi from his grandmother's place to Northland Primary School. "I planned to wake up at 5pm, but woke up at 6pm instead."

But his case was far from typical, with many voters instead forming long lines outside their polling stations long before the opening time of 8am.

Despite being in wheelchairs or having to use walking aids, many retirees were among the early risers.

One of them was 86-year-old Madam Wong Siew Chen, who arrived at Pei Chun Public School in a wheelchair at 7.55am.

VOTING FOR THE FIRST TIME

Four years ago, I stayed up all night to watch the results on TV. It was pretty fun. Getting involved is a whole new level.

MS JOANN QUEK, 25, a full-time Uber driver and first-time voter


PM LEE:

ON HOW HE IS FEELING

I feel good, everything is running smoothly. The voters are well taken care of, the old folks, the young, ones with young children. The feel is good, and my team had been working quite hard for some time.

ON HOW HE THINKS
THE OTHER GRCS ARE DOING

I haven't been around, I haven't spoken to the other candidates yet. But I had a Cabinet meeting yesterday and chatted with the ministers and I think we've done all that we could do. So now it's entirely in the hands of the voters.

WHAT'S THE ANXIETY LEVEL COMPARED WITH THE LAST ELECTION?

Every election is different.

ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THE RESULTS?

We always watch carefully.

HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU ABOUT THE RESULTS?

We've done our best.

WHAT WOULD BE A GOOD RESULT FOR YOU?

We'll see.

WHAT WOULD YOU SEE FOR THE FUTURE OF SINGAPORE, IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS, 50 YEARS?

That is for Singaporeans to choose, and that is what this election is about.

WHAT DO YOU SEE ARE THE NEXT STEPS?

We have set that out, set that out fully in the manifesto and the many speeches in the last two weeks.

HOW DO YOU SEE THIS ELECTION?

It's a major turning point for Singapore.

HAVE VOTERS RECEIVED THE MESSAGES IN THE PAP CAMPAIGN?

I think we have had some impact. Of course, we would like people to listen and absorb more always. But I think we got our messages across.

ARE YOU WILLING TO WORK WITH MORE OPPOSITION PARLIAMENTARIANS?

We'll see what are the results of the elections.

CHANCE TO SHOW SUPPORT

I've been living in Tanjong Pagar for about 30 years and, today, I can finally show my support. I've been reading the blogs and catching up on the news about the rallies. I feel very happy and excited.

DR MAURINE TSAKOK, 75, a gynaecologist. She arrived at Raffles Girls' Primary School at about 8am with her husband to cast her vote.

A DUTY TO VOTE

It's our duty to vote and exercise our rights as Singaporeans. If you care about Singapore, this is the time to express your views on a platform where everyone is equal regardless of your status or background.

DR CHRISTOPHER NG, 46, a gynaecologist, who was with his father, wife and sister at Raffles Girls' Primary School. The family planned to stay up to catch the results last night.

FEELING EMPOWERED

Voting for the first time really gives me a sense of empowerment. It's definitely a milestone for Singapore, although how big or not we'll know only after the votes have been counted. But I can feel that Singapore is changing and we're in exciting times now.

MR JEREMY VILLENGUEZ, 40, IT manager, at New Town Primary School just before noon. He has been living in a three-room HDB flat in the area for more than 30 years.

"I want to play mahjong later," she said. "I arranged to meet my friends at 10am."

Another, Mr Law Boon Leong, made his way to a Toa Payoh polling station on his own with the aid of a cane. The 62-year-old was left partially blind following a stroke.

"I can see out of only one eye, but it's very blurry," he said.

"The officials (at the polling station) ushered me in and told me what was written on the paper, so it wasn't too difficult to vote."

Candidates from various parties were also seen visiting various polling centres.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited six polling stations in his Ang Mo Kio GRC yesterday morning, staying for about 10 minutes at each. He arrived at Alexandra Primary School just before noon to cast his vote.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, he said this year's election is a "major turning point for Singapore", adding: "We've done our best."

Among yesterday's first-time voters was Ms Joann Quek, a full-time Uber driver.

"Four years ago, I stayed up all night to watch the results on TV. It was pretty fun," recalled the 25-year-old. "Getting involved is a whole new level."

But one disappointed would-be voter was Mr Daxter Chua, a regional manager of an oil and gas company who regularly flies between Indonesia and Singapore. His evening flight from Jakarta was delayed, causing him to miss out on voting.

"I wanted to vote because it's an obligation, but also as a citizen I have my rights," said the 41-year-old regretfully.

"I'm part of the sandwiched class, so I want the right party and candidates that can help me."

•Additional reporting by Melissa Lin, Jasmine Osada, Ng Huiwen and Rachel Au-Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2015, with the headline 'Many queue at polling centres before they open'. Print Edition | Subscribe