Singapore GE2020: Automatic recount if difference in votes between candidates is 2% or less

The tallying of votes will be done immediately after the close of polls. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - For this general election, an "automatic" recount will be carried out if the difference in votes between candidates contesting a constituency is 2 per cent or less.

Previously, candidates or counting agents had to apply for a recount.

The change was highlighted by the Elections Department (ELD) on Wednesday (July 1), when it announced the arrangements for the July 10 polls.

The tallying of votes is done immediately after the close of polls. It goes on late into the night on Polling Day and usually continues into the early hours of the next day.

At the start of the counting process, a sample count of 100 ballot papers is conducted to get an early indication of the possible outcome for that electoral division.

"As this is a sample count, the election result could be different," the ELD stressed, adding that the public should wait for the returning officer's announcement for the result.

As announced previously, mechanical counting machines will be deployed this time around to speed up the counting process.

However, a manual count of the ballot papers will still remain.

The first round of counting will be done manually, and a second round will be done using the machines, said the ELD.

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Each machine will have to pass a "pre-counting test" by election officials to check for accuracy before counting commences at the counting centres.

Candidates and their counting agents present at the centre will be allowed to view the test. Only machines that have passed the test will be used.

For this election, several new measures will be employed to give voters a smoother experience at polling stations, as well as to protect voters' health amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Voters will be given recommended time slots, and can check the queue situation at their polling station online before turning up with their poll card and NRIC or passport.

Voters can also use their e-poll cards on the SingPass Mobile app in lieu of the hard-copy poll versions.

Temperature checks will be conducted during normal voting hours from 8am to 7pm.

Those found to be running a fever of 37.5 deg C and above will not be allowed to enter, and will be asked to return during the special voting hour between 7pm and 8pm.

Voters can expect a shorter wait at the polling station with an e-registration system, where they just need to scan their NRICs to register. They will only need to lower their masks momentarily for election officials to verify their identity.

Then, they would have to sanitise their hands and put on disposable gloves before receiving their ballot papers.

At the polling booth, they can use their own pen or the new self-inking pen to mark their choice. Marks made outside the demarcated area of the ballot paper will be disregarded.

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