SINGAPORE: The Elections Department (ELD) has issued contingency plans on how the next General Election (GE) will be held amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Safety measures include dedicated time-bands for seniors to vote, setting up more polling stations and having voters wear gloves before entering polling booths.
The date of the polls is still not known but an election must take place by Apr 14, 2021.
READ: COVID-19: Recommended time-bands for voters to cast ballots among new safety measures for elections
Here’s what you need to know to vote safely:
BEFORE LEAVING YOUR HOUSE
- Check the recommended time for voting allotted to you. Voters will be given a recommended two-hour voting time-band, which will be indicated on the poll card and e-Poll card on the SingPass mobile app. This is to spread out voters across polling hours.
- Senior voters aged 65 and above will be allotted recommended voting time-bands from 8am to noon. Senior voters who require assistance may be accompanied by one household member. Senior voters who are unable to vote during their allotted time-bands in the morning can still do so at other times of the day when they will be able to join priority queues.
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- Can’t make your slot? While voters are encouraged to stick to their allotted time-bands, they may vote at any time the polling stations are open. Younger voters who show up in the morning may have to wait longer, says ELD.
- The number of polling stations will increase – from 880 to 1,100. This will cut the average number of voters per polling station from 3,000 to 2,400.
- Use http://VoteQ.gowhere.gov.sg to check the queue situation before setting off to vote. Voters should not bring non-voters, such as children, to polling stations.
REGISTERING TO VOTE
- All voters will be screened for fever and respiratory symptoms at the start of the queue. A decision on whether they will be allowed to vote will be made later based on the COVID-19 situation closer to polling day.
- e-Registration means machines, not humans, will verify voters against the electoral roll at polling stations. This eliminates contact with election officials.
- Voters must wear face masks and should lower them only when election officials need to verify their identity.
- Unlike polling agents and candidates, voters need not use the SafeEntry app to check in and check out. The e-Registration system records when voters register at the polling station and can be used for contact tracing if necessary.
AT THE POLLING STATION AND VOTING
- Voters are to stay 1m away from others while waiting to enter polling stations and within polling stations.
- They need to sanitise their hands and wear disposable gloves before receiving a ballot paper. After voting, they are to dispose of their gloves at the exit.
- Voters may also bring their own pens to mark the ballot papers. This will minimise the risk of contaminating the self-inking “X” pen, which will be used by other voters or ballot papers, which will be handled by counting assistants.
- Cleaners will be deployed to clean common touch-points, such as polling booths and self-inking “X” pens, within the polling area at least once every half hour. After polls close, cleaners will thoroughly disinfect the polling stations.
- Five minutes – the amount of time a voter should spend at a polling station. This includes registration, hand sanitisation, wearing of gloves and voting, ELD says.
- Voters on stay-home notices at designated facilities will vote at special polling stations away from other voters.
- When the Writ of Election is issued, ELD will consult the Ministry of Health to assess the public health risks of allowing other affected voters to vote, and decide based on the prevailing COVID-19 situation at that time. This includes those on quarantine orders, those serving stay-home notices at home, or those on medical leave for acute respiratory symptoms.
- ELD urged voters who are unwell not to vote. After the election, they can apply to be restored to the register of electors without paying a S$50 penalty.
- ELD also said on Jun 8 that whether overseas voters can vote depends on the health advisory where they are located. A decision will only be taken nearer Polling Day.
Published at Mon, 08 Jun 2020 12:20:38 +0000