SINGAPORE: There will be no change to the polling and counting procedures despite an extension of voting hours, the Elections Department (ELD) said on Friday (Jul 10).
ELD had earlier announced the extension of voting hours to 10pm to cater for the long queues in a small number of polling stations, and to allow enough time for all voters to cast their votes.
"Political parties and candidates are advised that there is no change to the polling and counting procedures. They can continue to exercise their rights and obligations in ensuring a fair and open election," ELD said at about 9.30pm.
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"Candidates and polling agents will continue to be allowed in the polling stations during the extended hours, and can witness the sealing of ballot boxes at the close of the poll and accompany the transport of sealed ballot boxes from the polling stations to the counting centres."
ELD said that at the counting centres, candidates and counting agents can also observe the counting process, give their views on rejected ballots, and affix their seals or sign on sealed ballot boxes after the announcements of results.
OPPOSITION PARTIES AGAINST EXTENSION
This came after a number of opposition parties spoke out against the extension of polls.
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) had asked for ELD to rescind its decision, saying that some of their polling agents had to leave at 8pm. This would leave some polling stations unattended when the boxes are sealed, it said.
This "may render the results questionable", the party added.
The Progress Singapore Party said that the extension was "highly irregular" and can compromise the integrity of the voting process.
"We feel that this is a direct result of bad planning and the incessant urge to rush an election during the COVID period," it said in a statement.
Singapore People's Party chief Steve Chia said that the party has asked its polling agents to leave first, but return at 10pm to witness the sealing of the ballot boxes.
"We regret for such sudden unplanned extensions but will do whatever is necessary to safeguard the integrity of the ballot box and the voting process in our contested constituencies," he said.
A People's Action Party (PAP) spokesperson said the PAP will respect the decision made by the ELD.
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