“Is My Vote Really Secret?”

Polling Day is just two days away on 7 May.

“Is my vote really secret?” If this question is still bothering you, watch this video by Maruah Singapore, a non-partisan NGO, addressing the issue:

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDeIFUw1K1o&”]

From Maruah’s website:

This video was put together by a team of volunteers. For the first time on video, Singaporeans from different walks of life come together to speak about their voting experiences. A former Straits Times journalist who had witnessed the actual destruction of the ballot papers from the 2006 General Elections also speaks about what he saw.

The video explains the voting process, and what happens to ballot papers after they are counted.

The voting process

  • A voter’s name and number is called out at the polling station, because representatives of the competing parties need to verify and cross out the name on their registers of voters. This allows parties to tally the total number of votes and the number of ballot papers issued, at the close of voting.
  • Ballot papers bear serial numbers, to prevent double voting with forged ballots.
  • Many other first world democracies around the world, like Britain and Canada, also have serial numbers on their ballot papers.

 After the ballot papers are counted

  • The ballot papers are placed into locked metal boxes, which are sealed. This is witnessed by the competing political parties, and they sign the seals.
  • These locked boxes are stored in the Supreme Court vault for six months, in case any party wishes to challenge the results.
  • These locked boxes cannot be opened unless there is a court order on the grounds of election fraud. There has been no such claim since Singapore first conducted elections in 1948.
  • Six months after the elections, these locked boxes are removed from the Supreme Court and sent directly to the incineration plant. This is witnessed by all political parties, and journalists, who will ensure that the seals are intact.

The entire process is very secure and transparent to all political parties. There is no doubt that people’s votes are secret.

The Elections Department says your vote is secret.

Michael Palmer, outgoing PAP MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol and candidate for Punggol East SMC, says your vote is secret. (at 2:26 of the video below):

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPwYny2gIDw&”]

Sylvia Lim, Chairman of the Workers’ Party and candidate for Aljunied GRC, says your vote is secret. (at 1:40 of the video below):

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXN39bPVwcQ&”]

Many other bloggers and online websites have chipped in to echo on voting secrecy. I have also written a blog post on this topic previously.

On Cooling Day, take some time to reflect and consider all candidates and parties carefully so that you can vote wisely.

Voting is secret. Make your vote counts for Singapore.

About Maruah:

MARUAH is a group of individuals from diverse backgrounds, who made a commitment to the process of facilitating the establishment of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission for Human Rights and are now continuing to work on human rights issues at both domestic and regional levels.

MARUAH means Dignity in Malay, Singapore’s national language. Human rights is all about maintaining, restoring and reclaiming one’s dignity at the individual, regional and international level.

MARUAH is the Singapore focal point for the Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, a regional group with its secretariat based in Manila. The regional Working Group has national representatives from all of the founding Member States of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The regional Working Group is an NGO officially recognised in the ASEAN Charter as a stakeholder in ASEAN.

MARUAH’s constitution can be downloaded here.

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