How many did not vote?

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Leong Sze Hian

Since voting is compulsory, what happens if you do not vote in the elections?

Your name will be removed from the register of voters.

You can restore your name to the register of voters, if you pay a fee of $50.

For those who have a valid reason, such as being away from Singapore, no fee is charged.

Why was the fee increased from $5 to $50?

Will this fee deter some Singaporeans from restoring their names to vote in the future?

The procedure to apply to restore one’s name to the register of voters seems overly onerous, as according to the Elections Department’s web site:

“For those who claim to be overseas to work or study, or to be living with a spouse who is working or studying overseas, the passport plus an employer's letter or educational institution's letter, and marriage certificate would be required. For those who were on an overseas vacation or business trip, the passport plus documents showing that the trip had been planned before Nomination Day should be produced, such as receipts from travel agencies, air tickets, hotel booking receipts, or a suitable letter from your employer.”

Wouldn’t one’s passport showing that one was overseas suffice?

Why the need for an employer’s or educational institution’s letter, marriage certificate, documents showing that the trip had been planned before Nomination Day, etc?

Is the Elections Department saying that from Nomination Day onwards no Singaporean can travel, other than for work, study or illness?

Given that the procedure and criteria are arguably quite troublesome or unreasonably onerous, I wonder how many people may simply not bother at all, and also not pay the $50.

Well, I recently met one person like that.

Are there any countries in the world which charges a fee to restore citizens’ constitutional right to vote?

How many Singaporeans have not restored their names, in the last few elections?

I have analysed the number of Singaporeans who did not vote in the 2011 elections. They are ranked below from the highest percentage of voters who did not vote in a constituency, to the lowest.

Ranking of Non-voters (%)

Single Member Constituency (SMC)

Joo Chiat                                 13.0%

Mountbatten                            12.3

Radin  Mas                                8.5

Potong  Pasir                            7.2

Yuhua                                        6.9

Whampoa                                 6.7

Hougang                                  5.8

Hong  Kah  North                      5.1

Pioneer                                      5.0

Bukit  Panjang                           4.8

Punggol  East                            4.8

Sengkang  West                       4.4

 

Group Representation Constituency (GRC)

Moulmein-Kallang                   10.7%

Holland-Bukit Timah                 9.7

East  Coast                               9.2

Bishan – Toa Payoh                 9.0

Marine  Parade                         8.7

West Coast                               7.7

Jurong                                       6.7

Aljunied                                     6.6

Ang  Mo  Kio                             6.5

Chua  Chu  Kang                      5.8

Pasir  Ris -  Punggol                 5.6

Tampines                                  5.4

Nee  Soon                                 5.3

Sembawang                              5.2

(Source:  Lianhe Wanbao, May 8)

The hotly contested SMC wards of Joo Chiat, Mounbatten and Potong Pasir, appear to have relatively higher percentages of non-voters, at 13, 12.3 and 7.2 per cent, respectively.

New citizens

What was the impact of new citizens voting in this election?

As there were about 90,000 new citizens over the last five years, the estimated number of new citizens in each of the 87 constituencies is about 1,034 (90,000 divided by 87 constituencies).

So, for example, in Potong Pasir, where Mrs Lina Chiam lost by only 78 votes, after counting the overseas votes, how many of the 7,973 residents who voted for the PAP’s Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, were new citizens?

Of course, new citizens could have voted for Mrs Chiam, instead of Mr Sitoh Yih Pin.

Also, how many non-voters were there, compared to the last 2006 elections?

How many Potong Pasir residents did not restore their names to the register of voters, in the 2006 elections?

Finally, perhaps we could try to find out the categories of reasons as to why the 1,495 absentee voters in Potong Pasir did not vote?