Can I get a new ballot paper if I accidentally vote for the wrong party? - We answer questions about GE2020 voting

PHOTO: AsiaOne

There's no question too dumb, too outrageous, or too insignificant, at least not in our books.

Voting is a big responsibility, after all. And especially if you are doing it for the first time, it's not surprising to have many questions. 

Which is why we've done up our own in-depth FAQ we hope would cover all your queries that you may have when casting your vote for Singapore.

In this edition of the FAQ, we delve into all things about the actual voting that you may have questions about.


1. Who will I be voting for, is it one person or a group of people?

That really depends on where you're staying, and if you belong to a Single Member Constituency (SMC) or a Group Representation Constituency (GRC). As their names would've suggested, that'd decide whether there's only one person, or a team running for your area.

If you aren't sure of which constituency you're in — understandable, since it may change every election — you can find out over here.

2. I only like one person in the team that's contesting for my GRC. Can I vote for that one person only?

No. When you vote, you are voting for the entire team to be elected, and the voting slip only allows you to vote for the group And it would look something like this.

PHOTO: Parliamentary Elections Act 

3. I don't know who to vote for, can I don't vote?

Voting might seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be.

There are plenty of resources out there to find out more about who's running in your constituency, what their party stands for, and what they promise to achieve.

And unlike the previous elections that required voters to attend rallies in person, this year's election will largely be fought online, think online rallies and even dialogue sessions with this year's election candidates.

Apart from holding their own e-rally live streams, political parties are given airtime for campaigning through the Constituency Political Broadcasts (CPB) which will be aired on Mediacorp's Channel 5. This is on top of the Party Political Broadcasts, which will be aired on 19 TV and radio channels.

If that's still too much effort, why not just refer to our first-time voters guide? You don't need to be a first-timer to use it.

4. Voting is supposed to be secret, so why is there a serial number on my ballot paper?

Theoretically, it is possible for anyone with access to the ballot papers to identify who cast a particular vote.

However, the true purpose of the serial number is to protect the integrity of the democratic process. When the ballot paper is issued, the number facilitates vote tracing if necessary, and tracing is only allowed if there's an order from the court that arises from an election petition (aka someone thinks the results were tampered with.)

Otherwise, the boxes are sealed and signed off to prevent stuffing and impersonation, and they'll be incinerated six months after the election.

TL;DR Don't worry, your vote is secret. The number is for protection against voting fraud.

5. I accidentally voted for the wrong party. Can I get a new piece of ballot paper?

If you've accidentally voted for the wrong party, marked your cross outside of the box or drew a tick instead of a cross, you're allowed to exchange your ballot paper for a new one — provided you haven't deposited it into the ballot box. 

You may approach the election official at your polling station and ask for a new one. 

6. We already know who will win, so what's the point of voting?

Don't count your chickens before they're hatched. Up until the final result is announced, no one really knows who's going to win.

Every vote counts — in determining who's running your constituency, in determining who the governing party is, which would, in turn, affect everyone, including you.

Are you a first-time voter or perhaps just not all too familiar with what happens during a general election? Click here to read everything you need to know about GE2020.

rainercheung@asiaone.com