Elections Department releases revisions to enhance election processes

PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - The Elections Department (ELD) has released a series of revisions "as part of ongoing efforts to update and enhance election processes", said a press release on Thursday, Aug 20.

These revisions include:

Increase in Parliamentary Election expenses limit

The maximum spending limit will be raised from $3.50 to $4.00 for every elector on the register of electors for the electoral division that the candidate is seeking election to be a Member of Parliament1 to account for inflation.

The law imposes a ceiling on a candidate's election expenses to ensure a level playing field. Spending in excess of the maximum amount in the law is an illegal practice.

ELD website update on maximum number of posters and banners in Electoral Divisions

A maximum number of posters and banners that can be displayed is set for each candidate or group of candidates contesting in an electoral division. In past elections, candidates were provided this maximum number after the close of nomination proceedings (on Nomination Day).

To better facilitate candidates' planning, ELD has published on its website in advance the formulae to compute the maximum number of posters and banners for each electoral division.

The maximum number of posters and banners allowed is:

• 1 poster to every 50 electors in the register (rounded to nearest 100), subject to minimum of: - 500 per SMC, - 2,000 per 4-MP GRC, - 2,500 per 5-MP GRC, or - 3,000 per 6-MP GRC.

• 1 banner to every 5,000 electors in the register (rounded to whole number), subject to minimum of: - 5 per SMC, - 20 per 4-MP GRC, - 25 per 5-MP GRC, or - 30 per 6-MP GRC.

Closer placement for the display of posters and banners

Candidates are not allowed to display posters and banners within a designated radius from a polling station, to minimise undue influence on voters.

As there has been a significant increase in the number of polling stations to improve voter accessibility, the current 200-metre prohibition zone has resulted in limited areas for the legitimate display of posters and banners, especially in built-up residential estates. Hence, the radius of the prohibition zone for the display of posters and banners will be reduced from 200 to 50 metres.

Appointment of the Malay Community Committee and Indian & Other Minority Communities Committee

Every group of persons who wishes to stand for parliamentary election in a group representation constituency (GRC) is required to have at least one candidate belonging to either the Malay community, or the Indian and other minority communities. In addition to the nomination paper and Political Donation Certificate, the group is required to produce a Certificate of the Malay Community Committee (MCC) or a Certificate of the Indian and Other Minority Communities Committee (IOMCC) to the Returning Officer on Nomination Day.

To be issued the certificate, the person must apply to the appropriate committees by submitting the completed forms (hardcopy) to the Elections Department.

Ballot Paper to include candidates' photos

To make it easier for voters, especially the elderly, to identify the candidates they wish to vote for, candidates' photos will be included in the ballot papers for the next General Election. The new ballot papers will be larger to accommodate the photos. Candidates' photos on the ballot papers were introduced for the first time at the 2011 Presidential Election, garnering generally positive public feedback.

Other format changes to help voters mark their choices clearly include white boxes against a darkened background, and wider gaps between the boxes to mark 'X' to prevent voters from marking across boxes of different rows.

Details of the format changes will be made known closer to Polling Day of the General Election.