SINGAPORE – Mr Pritam Singh, Leader of the Opposition and Secretary General of the Workers’ Party, has urged Overseas Singaporeans to check if their names are on the Register of Electors and to restore it if not.

He made this call in a Facebook post after spending the morning with his party colleagues visiting hawker centres at New Upper Changi Road and Bedok South.

Mr Singh drew attention to the recent changes to the Presidential and Parliamentary Election Acts which were passed by Parliament in March this year, allowing for postal voting.

This development enables more Overseas Singaporeans to exercise their voting rights. It is estimated that the number of Overseas Singaporeans exceeds 200,000.

The Workers’ Party leader speculated that the upcoming Presidential Elections might serve as a “dry run” for the postal voting system before it is extended to Parliamentary Elections.

However, with the majority of previous Presidential Elections having been uncontested, the implementation of this system remains uncertain.

Mr Singh emphasized the possible impact of Overseas Singaporeans on Parliamentary Elections, especially in closely contested constituencies.

“It is no secret that the design of our political system is tilted in favour of the PAP,” Mr Singh stated, referring to the ruling People’s Action Party. He cited the frequent changes of electoral boundaries as one example of this bias.

Highlighting the role of opposition parties in keeping politics contestable and balanced, Mr Singh appealed to Overseas Singaporeans to make their votes count.

This comes in the wake of new election laws allowing postal voting for overseas Singaporeans. Singaporeans residing abroad will be able to vote by post in the upcoming Presidential election following a series of laws passed recently to ease the voting process.

The updated rules also include increased transparency measures, such as requiring election advertising content to carry the full names of those who funded and approved the messages.

The changes were enacted following the General Election 2020, during which the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions rendered some overseas Singaporeans unable to vote.

At that time, these individuals had to travel to specified physical polling stations, which became a challenging task amid the pandemic.

At the 2020 General Election, out of the 6,570 registered overseas voters, 4,794 cast their ballots. This reflects the potential impact of the vast population of Overseas Singaporeans, estimated to be about 200,000, on future elections.

As per the new amendments, these individuals will now be able to vote by post, broadening their opportunity to participate in the electoral process.

These changes also address the issue of Singapore’s rapidly ageing electorate, as noted by Minister-in-charge of the Public Service, Chan Chun Sing.

According to Mr Chan, 21 per cent of the voters for the 2020 General Election were aged 65 and above, compared to 14 per cent in the 2011 General Election.

The Elections Department (ELD) plans to pilot polling arrangements in nursing homes housing more than 50 voters, reaching out to over 2,000 voters and encompassing about two-thirds of registered voters currently residing in these nursing homes.

The list of nursing homes selected for this pilot will be made public on Nomination Day, should the election be contested.

Visit the Election Department website here: https://www.eld.gov.sg/online.html

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