6 May 2006

General Elections FAQ

57 years after Singapore held its first general elections, questions like these are still being raised by Singaporeans of all ages in everyday conversations.

1. "My ballot papers always have a serial number on them, and my registration papers have my NRIC and a serial number as well. This means the government can check who I voted for, so I better vote for the ruling party."

2. "The Department of Elections started to shrink the size of precincts 3 elections ago, and increased the number of polling stations. This means the government can find out roughly how I and my 2000+ neighbours voted, and punish us if we vote for other parties. I better vote for the PAP."

3. "I am a civil servant. I better vote for the PAP or else I might lose my job."

The Department of Elections should have ready answers for all these, but where are they?



Why should they have FAQs for these questions when IMHO they are non-issues? Low Thia Khiang, Steve Chia and Chiam See Tong have already stressed repeatedly that your vote is secret.

Vote what your heart and mind tell you, not what that little demon called fear is whispering in your little ear.

akikonomu said...

Why do they need to stress repeatedly? Like what I wrote, many people still think this way.

b is for... said...

The Elections Department does answer Q1 here (http://www.elections.gov.sg/secrecy.htm).

Q2 is malformed since only aggregates are made known. Even if sub-aggregates were made known to the candidates, then candidates from all contesting parties would know too.

Q3 is utterly unsubstantiated by evidence.

Agagooga said...

It doesn't matter if the Emperor is really wearing clothes, as long as everyone thinks he is.

ja said...

I think only the older generation, and those who had lesser education, feel that their vote may not be secret. Like my mum, for example, she won't even tell me who she's voting for! She's intepreting wrongly what the gov't meant by "Your Vote Is Secret."

As for civil servants, can't really blame them. I can't see scholars voting for the Opposition either, they know how they got their scholarships. The gov't has inculcated in them that they all are beholden to the system. And we all know the system belongs to the PAP.

jOlYnNN said...

I agree.. i heard from people raising up these 3 points. At first i myself have these queries too. However, for point 2, even if all candidates are allowed to know the aggregate, only PAP can regroup the constituencies to their favour. Hence, no use for Opposition to noe eh?

Anyway, i guess we who uses the internet and visits all these websites would know the answers to these points. I think we really need to let those who fear knows about it.

Haiz, my family tot this way too.. the group of people infront of me during polling thought this way too.. my frends' family thought so too... when i got to noe that, i'm really upset about it. Really make me lose some confidence in WP's votes.

I would feel unjust for WP's candidates if they were to lose not because they have not enough supporters but rather because their supporters FEARRRRRRRRRR.

Anonymous said...

How comforting to know we've proven Li Ao right. Singaporeans are stupid.

Anonymous said...

did i miss something here? if enough opposition were voted in, there would then be enough people representing the voters in parliament to make sure that the PAP is not able to punish those who did not vote for them.

its all about getting into parliament the checks and balances in the first place.

so even if the PAP were to know you voted against them, your opposition member in parliament would squeal if they want to take revenge. voting the opposition in is therefore the only logical solution to ensure you never get screwed again.

Anonymous said...

wouldn't it be good if pap themselves could ensure the citizens not to fear about the voting, be it to pap or to oppo parties?

Capt_Canuck said...

Guess it is not an issue because Singaporeans dont make it an issue. After all, you have your elected representatives to your GRCs. Why not go in to them, tell them you want the ballot secret and make it a point. Enough people complain then the party might think it is important to the people. Then, when elections come again next year, perhaps the opposition party might run it as a campaign promise to get rid of the tracked vote and make it secret.

but, then again, who am I to tell Singaporeans how to run their elections and lifes. After all, since everyone follows suit and the life style and doesnt speak up and then ridicules those that speak up (the opposition parties that are getting sued), everyone must be happy with the control they are feeling from the gov't. Enjoy the money you get and never question the freedom you are losing to get it.

Anonymous said...

When your polling agents at the polling centres are wearing full white outfits, it's hard for some people not to think that their votes can be made known to the MIW.

Matilah_Singapura said...

I think the Dept of Elections ough to have a sign at the entrance to its office:

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” - Joseph Stalin

Anonymous said...

my friend wants to see low thia kiang's speech. never show leh.

scholar said...

Its not true that all scholars will vote for PAP. Really. Some of us do care for the country until it hurts.

About ballot secrecy. The key issue is that your poll card serial number is recorded in the counterfoil (where they detach your ballot slip). The Parliamentary Elections Act specifically stipulates this requirement, so while it leaves a sour taste in the mouth, it is entirely legal.

This together with the electoral register and ballot paper gives any person the ability to determine how each individual voted.

The counterfoils are sealed at the Election Dept @ Prinsep, and may only be unsealed after application to a judge.

I queried the elections Presiding Officer at my polling station in Hougang as to whether there was supervision of the counterfoils on their way to being sealed - none. Party representatives currently do not escort the counterfoils.

So in the big scheme of things the secrecy of vote is still rather plausible, excepting 2 scenarios:

1. the very bored/politically motivated presiding officer(s) frantically rush to match up the 3 keys on the way to the elections department.

2. applications to judges - we should ask for more transparency/statistics on how often this happens. Could any party theoretically request unsealing during the 6 mths before destruction of ALL available ballot papers to do name-by-name analysis?

Which begs the question: To prevent ballot fraud, couldn't they just apply technology similar to anti-counterfeiting features on printed money?

Anonymous said...

come on. The govt won't charge in your house with an AXE or HAMMER if you vote for the opposition, right?

The govt wanted the voting pattern to regulate their GRC boundary so that they can win! Don't worry, they are not using the data to HAMTUM you if you don't vote for them.

Postmaster-General said...

The less question is funny. When the PAP first came to power LKY warned the civil sercice it better cooperate and not give him a hard time. Heh...

Anonymous said...

Ever heard of "kanna mark" ?

Anonymous said...

'Ever heard of "kanna mark"?'

You are a typical Kia Si Singaporean who has decided to sell your rights/soul for a facade of self-welfare.

Please use your brain, you know how many people vote? U mean they will go and track every SINGLE one of them who votes for the opposition and MARK you?

They will somehow have this "PPL WHO VOTED FOR OPPOSITION" data in every single Govt organisation and they will check through the data and somehow able to tekan you?

Lord, the mentality and naivete some people possess... it is precisely this fear that the ruling Govt wants and you are taking it well and shoving it up ur arse.