Singapore GE2020: Singaporeans on stay-home notice at hotels can vote from their rooms

Marina Bay Sands (left) and JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach have been designated as special polling stations for voters serving their stay-home notice in those hotels. PHOTOS: JASON QUAH, LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans serving their stay-home notice (SHN) at hotels can cast their vote on July 10 without leaving their rooms.

Mobile polling teams will go door-to-door to deliver the ballot paper to all voters on SHN at these designated facilities, the Elections Department (ELD) said on Wednesday (July 1).

After opening the room door, the voter has to stand 1m from the door, lower his mask momentarily and show his identity card or passport to the polling team.

After confirming the voter's identity in the SHN voter register, the team will read out the voter's electoral division, polling district and voter serial number before handing over the ballot paper.

Once the ballot paper is marked in private, the voter will be prompted to place it into the ballot box. If the room is shared by more than one voter, the team will repeat the process for each voter.

Marina Bay Sands and JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach have been designated as special polling stations for voters serving their SHN in those hotels.

According to a Government Gazette notice on Tuesday, these stations will be established for the polls under the Parliamentary Elections (Covid-19 Special Arrangements) Act.

There will be four stations at Marina Bay Sands, spanning two different towers with each station covering more than 20 levels. There will be one station at JW Marriott.

They will all be open from 8am to 8pm on Polling Day.

The Act, meant to allow Singapore to safely hold an election amid the coronavirus pandemic, lets voters serving their 14-day SHN at designated facilities to vote outside their electoral divisions as they are unable to leave the premises at which they are staying.

Any additional special polling stations will be announced in a notice on the gazette on July 7.

Before the start of polls, the polling team will show to the candidates and polling agents present at the special polling station that the ballot box is empty before sealing it.

A copy of the voter register, will be provided to the candidates and polling agents present.

Candidates and polling agents for the electoral division the voter is in may accompany the team to observe the polling proceedings, but they have to stay at a safe distance.

At the close of polls, the ballot boxes will be sealed and delivered on official buses, under police escort, to the centralised counting centre for counting.

The counting procedure there will be similar to how votes cast by overseas electors are counted.

Once the ballot boxes from all special polling stations have arrived, the assistant returning officer will invite candidates and counting agents present to inspect the sealed ballot boxes.

Ballot papers from the boxes will be mixed first before being sorted by electoral divisions. The papers of each division will then be counted at a specific counting table.

After that, the assistant returning officer will announce the result to the candidates and counting agents present. The result will be transmitted to the principal counting place of that electoral division for tallying.

The counted ballot papers for the various electoral divisions will be sealed into packets and placed into the depository box, which will be transported to the Supreme Court for safekeeping.

Separately, Singaporeans overseas who have registered as voters can vote at the polling stations in 10 cities: Beijing, Canberra, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Tokyo and Washington.

These cities are all places where a significant number of Singaporeans are present.

Voting will take place subject to the approval of the overseas authorities and the prevailing coronavirus situation in those cities, the ELD said.

The overseas polling stations will implement similar safety measures for voting as those in Singapore, including temperature screening and requiring all voters to wear masks.

They will also have to sanitise their hands and put on plastic gloves before collecting a ballot paper.

These polling stations will also implement a special voting hour between 7pm and 8pm on Polling Day. Any voter with a fever of 37.5 deg C and above will be turned away and asked to return during that allocated hour.

During the special voting hour, the overseas election officials will don full personal protective equipment.

Cleaning and disinfecting of the polling equipment, including the booths and self-inking pens, will also be done after every voter's use.

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