Many queue at polling centres before they open

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

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. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
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. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
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. ST PHOTOS: LIM SIN THAI, DESMOND FOO
At Bedok Town Secondary School (above), counting assistants pouring out ballots from the boxes before counting them. ST PHOTOS: LIM SIN THAI, DESMOND FOO

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.

"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

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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. Subscribe