Singapore GE2020: Over 4,700 votes cast by citizens in polling stations abroad

Election officials preparing to count the overseas votes in the presence of candidates from various parties yesterday.
Election officials preparing to count the overseas votes in the presence of candidates from various parties yesterday. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

More than 4,700 Singaporeans voted overseas in the July 10 General Election, largely following patterns similar to citizens who voted locally.

A few exceptions were seen in a number of hotly contested constituencies, where overseas voters supported the team that had lost.

In Sengkang GRC, which was won by the Workers' Party (WP) with 52.1 per cent of the votes, 105 overseas voters supported the People's Action Party (PAP) team instead, while another 81 voters chose the WP team.

In East Coast GRC, which was also contested by the WP, slightly more overseas voters supported the WP over the PAP team that eventually won. The PAP team had 135 votes from citizens abroad, while the WP team had 147 votes.

Meanwhile, more overseas voters supported the Singapore Democratic Party's Professor Paul Tambyah in Bukit Panjang SMC and the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) team that contested West Coast GRC over the PAP slates.

Prof Tambyah garnered 20 votes while the PAP's Mr Liang Eng Hwa received 15. The PSP's West Coast team, led by party chief Tan Cheng Bock, had 125 votes over the PAP team's 113 votes.

The PAP candidates received strong support in a few other constituencies, such as Hong Kah North SMC, where Dr Amy Khor received 14 votes against the PSP's Ms Gigene Wong, who had five.

Ms Sun Xueling of the PAP received 18 votes in Punggol West SMC against the WP's Ms Tan Chen Chen, who received five.

Yio Chu Kang SMC voters were exactly split between the PAP's Mr Yip Hon Weng and the PSP's Ms Kayla Low, with 19 votes each.

Independent candidate Cheang Peng Wah received one vote in Pioneer SMC, PSP's Mr Lim Cher Hong had four, and the PAP's Mr Patrick Tay had 22, making it more than 80 per cent of the vote share.

There were 50 rejected votes among the ballots cast overseas.

The results of the July 10 election were already decided before the overseas votes were counted, as the margins of victory for all 31 constituencies were greater than the total number of overseas registered voters for each constituency.

The PAP's national vote share fell by one-hundredth of a percentage point, from 61.24 per cent before accounting for overseas voters, to 61.23 per cent.

The Elections Department (ELD) said yesterday that 72.3 per cent of the 6,570 registered overseas voters turned up to vote.

The votes cast by the 4,794 Singaporeans at designated polling stations around the world were counted yesterday at the ELD Training Centre in Victoria Street, the ELD said.

A further 101 Singaporeans had applied to vote overseas but were unable to do so, owing to a glitch in the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority's system.

The overseas voters cast their ballots in 10 cities around the world with significant numbers of Singaporeans: Beijing, Canberra, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Tokyo and Washington.

These were the same 10 cities where Singaporeans overseas could vote in the 2015 General Election.

Including the overseas voters, the total number of votes cast in the July 10 election was 2,540,359, including 45,822 rejected votes.

This is 95.81 per cent of the 2,651,435 registered electors, the ELD said. The voter turnout, which was the highest it has been in more than two decades, increased slightly from the 95.63 per cent at the close of the polls in Singapore.

Ahead of the ELD's official announcement, WP candidate for East Coast GRC Terence Tan had shared the breakdown of the overseas votes for his constituency on Facebook, noting that there were no spoilt votes.

His wife, fellow WP member and new MP for Sengkang GRC He Ting Ru, said in a Facebook post last night that she was "deeply touched" by the love for Singapore shown by overseas voters.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2020, with the headline Over 4,700 votes cast by citizens in polling stations abroad. Subscribe