Friday, April 21, 2006

Voting is compulsory in Singapore... really!

Get ready to hit the election centres come May 6. That's the day that the Singapore government has chosen for the country's General Elections. For most of us who have never voted before in Singapore, this could be our chance to finally do so. Well, even if you aren't too eager to vote, you really have no choice because as we all know, voting is compulsory in Singapore. Everyone has to vote!

So if it is compulsory, what happens if someone does not vote? Will the government track you down, charge you in court and put you in jail? No one I talked to really knows. They only say that when it is compulsory in Singapore, it means you have to do it or else. So or else what? What really happens if you don't vote?

Well, I found my answer thanks to the Elections Department Singapore website. Over at its Voting is Compulsory page, it says:
Voting at Singapore’s presidential election or parliamentary election is compulsory for all eligible citizens. It is part of the responsibility of being an adult Singapore citizen.

So, if the presidential election or the parliamentary election in your constituency is contested, and you are eligible to vote, you must present yourself as a voter at your assigned polling station on Polling Day and cast your vote.
There's also a couple of interesting Q&As on the same page:
What if I do not vote at an election?

At the end of the election, the Returning Officer will put your name, together with all others who did not vote at the election, in the list of non-voters and pass that to the Registration Officer. The Registration Officer will then remove your name from the certified register of electors.

This means that you cannot vote at any subsequent presidential or parliamentary election, and you are disqualified from being a candidate at any subsequent presidential or parliamentary election.
There's no mention of any other punishment besides the above. So if you don't really want to vote, I would think that you can safely do so as long as you don't mind not being to allowed to participate in future elections. Or maybe there's something else that they are not telling us.

Anyway do our votes really matter? Should every Singaporean be out in full force come May 6 or should we just don't turn up? It is no secret that everyone knows who's going to win aye. Well, it does matter to me. Why? Mainly because my fingers are just itching to mark an X on the spot. See you guys on May 6.


GeekGod said...

They will have our names on record and well you may never know what will happen then.

Anonymous said...

the fee for getting your name back to the register is $5

Chuang Shyue Chou said...

There's nothing in the law that says that you can't submit a spoilt vote...

LING said...

Give it another 2 or more General Elections and Singapore may have a strong opposition.

sharlet said...

Someone told me if you don't vote you get *jailed*. Seems like he was wrong...

And, sure you can "tou2 fei4 piao4" but you would be on someone's blacklist forever... :P

They *do* track.

So funny about the fee though. Haha! As if anyone would pay to get themselves back in the book to vote.

jkaiser said...

how to effectively make ppl wanna vote or get themselves back into list... link progress package to it lor..not in list cannot get package.. just an evil thought, heh =P

Anonymous said...

It would be dull to see a 1 sided competition.
No competition is equivalent to no improvement.