General elections in Singapore
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
General elections in Singapore must be held within three months after five years have elapsed from the date of the first sitting of a particular Parliament of Singapore. However, in most cases Parliament is dissolved and a general election called at the behest of the Prime Minister before the five-year period elapses. The number of constituencies or electoral divisions is not permanently fixed by law, but is declared by the Prime Minister prior to each general election pursuant to the Parliamentary Elections Act (Cap. 218, 2011 Rev. Ed.), which governs the conduct of elections to Parliament, taking into account recommendations of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee. For the 2020 general election, there are 93 seats in Parliament organised into 14 Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) and 17 Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs). Each SMC returns one Member of Parliament while each GRC returns between three and six MPs, at least one of whom must be from the Malay, Indian or other minority communities. A group of persons wishing to stand for election in a GRC must all be members of the same political party, or a group of independent candidates. The voting age in Singapore is 21 years.
The election process begins when the President, acting on Cabinet's advice, issues a writ of election addressed to the returning officer. On nomination day, the returning officer and his or her representatives will be present at designated nomination centres between 11:00 am and 12:00 noon to receive prospective candidates' nomination papers, and political donation certificates certifying that they have complied with the requirements of the Political Donations Act (Cap. 236, 2001 Rev. Ed.). A person intending to contest in a GRC as a minority candidate must also submit a certificate confirming that he or she is a person belonging to the Malay, Indian or some other minority community. In addition, between the date of the writ of election and 12:00 noon on nomination day, candidates must lodge with the returning officer a deposit equal to 8% of the total allowances payable to an MP in the preceding calendar year, rounded to the nearest $500. For the 2015 general election, the amount of the deposit was $14,500. At the close of the nomination period, where there is only one candidate in an SMC or one group of candidates in a GRC standing nominated, the election is uncontested and the returning officer will declare that the candidate has or the group of candidates have been elected. Where there is more than one candidate in an SMC or more than one group of candidates in a GRC, the election is adjourned for a poll to be taken. The returning officer issues a notice of contested election which states when polling day will be; and information such as the names of the candidates, their proposers and seconders, the symbols allocated to candidates which will be printed on ballot papers, and the locations of polling stations.
Candidates can only mount election campaigns from after the close of nomination up to the day before the eve of polling day. No campaigning is permitted on the eve of polling day itself, which is known as "cooling-off day". Candidates can advertise on the Internet, conduct house-to-house visits, distribute pamphlets, put up banners and posters, and hold election rallies. Political parties fielding at least six candidates are allocated airtime for two pre-recorded party political broadcasts on radio and television, one on the day following nomination day and the other on cooling-off day. The amount of airtime granted depends on the number of candidates each party is fielding. The maximum amount which a candidate or his or her election agent can pay or incur for an election campaign is $3.50 for each elector in an SMC, or $3.50 for each elector divided by the number of candidates in the group standing for election in a GRC.
Polling day at a general election is a public holiday, and voting is compulsory. Unless the returning officer decides otherwise, polling stations are open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Voters must go to the polling stations assigned to them. After the poll closes, the presiding officer of each polling station seals the ballot boxes without opening them. Candidates or their polling agents may also affix their own seals to the ballot boxes. The ballot boxes are then taken to counting centres to be opened and the ballots counted. A candidate or his counting agent may ask the returning officer for a recount of votes if the difference between the number of votes for the candidate or group of candidates with the most votes and the number of votes of any other candidate or group of candidate is 2% or less, excluding rejected and tendered votes. After all counts, and recounts if any, have been completed, the returning officer ascertains whether the total number of electors registered to vote overseas is less than the difference between the number of votes for the two candidates with the highest number of votes. If so, the returning officer declares the candidate with the highest number of votes to be elected as president. If not, the returning officer states the number of votes cast for each candidate and the date and location where the overseas votes will be counted.
The most recent general election was held on 10 July 2020. The People's Action Party was returned to power to form the Government with 83 seats, while the Workers' Party of Singapore secured ten seats by winning in Aljunied GRC, Hougang SMC and Sengkang GRC.
Composition and term of Parliament
The Parliament of Singapore is unicameral and consists of three types of Members of Parliament: elected Members of Parliament (MPs), Non-constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs), and Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs). Of these, MPs are chosen by universal suffrage or popular election under a "first-past-the-post" system, while NCMPs are chosen from among the candidates of political parties not forming the Government.
The maximum duration of each Parliament is five years from the date of its first sitting. If Parliament has not been dissolved before that period has elapsed, it is automatically dissolved by operation of law. However, in most cases Parliament is dissolved and a general election called at the behest of the Prime Minister, who is entitled to advise the President to do so by a proclamation published in the Government Gazette. The President is not obliged to proclaim that Parliament is dissolved unless he is satisfied that the Prime Minister commands the confidence of a majority of MPs. Once Parliament has been dissolved, a general election must be held within three months.
The number of elected MPs and constituencies or electoral divisions is not permanently fixed by law, but is declared by the Prime Minister prior to each general election pursuant to the Parliamentary Elections Act, which governs the conduct of elections to Parliament, taking into account recommendations of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee. Each constituency may be of Single Member Constituency (SMC) or Group Representation Constituency (GRC). Each SMC returns one MP while each GRC returns between three and six MPs, at least one of whom must be from the Malay, Indian or other minority communities. A group of persons wishing to stand for election in a GRC must all be members of the same political party, or a group of independent candidates.
For the purposes of the 2020 general election, there were 93 electable seats in Parliament organised into 14 SMCs and 17 GRCs. Six GRCs were designated as four-member wards, 11 as five-member wards. 11 GRCs were designated as wards for which at least one member of the Malay community had to be fielded as a candidate, and six as wards for which at least one member of the Indian or some other minority community had to be fielded.
Qualifications for Parliamentary candidates
Persons are qualified to be elected or appointed as MPs if:
- they are Singapore citizens;
- they are 21 years of age or above on the day of nomination for election;
- their names appear in a current register of electors;
- they are resident in Singapore at the date of nomination and have been so resident for an aggregate period of not less than ten years before that date;
- they are able, with a degree of proficiency sufficient to enable them to take an active part in Parliamentary proceedings, to speak and, unless incapacitated by blindness or some other physical cause, to read and write at least one of the following languages: English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil; and
- they are not otherwise disqualified from being MPs under Article 45 of the Constitution
Article 45 provides that persons are not qualified to be MPs if:
- they are and have been found or declared to be of unsound mind;
- they are undischarged bankrupts;
- they hold offices of profit;
- having been nominated for election to Parliament or the office of President or having acted as election agent to a person so nominated, they have failed to lodge any return of election expenses required by law within the time and in the manner required;
- they have been convicted of an offence by a court of law in Singapore or Malaysia and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than S$2,000 and have not received a free pardon;
- they have voluntarily acquired the citizenship of, or exercised rights of citizenship in, a foreign country or has made a declaration of allegiance to a foreign country; or
- they are disqualified under any law relating to offences in connection with elections to Parliament or the office of President by reason of having been convicted of such an offence or having in proceedings relating to such an election been proved guilty of an act constituting such an offence.
A person's disqualification for having failed to properly lodge a return of election expenses or having been convicted of an offence may be removed by the President. If the President has not done so, the disqualification ceases at the end of five years from the date on which the return was required to be lodged or, as the case may be, the date on which the person convicted was released from custody or the date on which the fine was imposed. In addition, a person is not disqualified for acquiring or exercising rights of foreign citizenship or declared allegiance to a foreign country if he or she did so before becoming a Singapore citizen.
To be eligible to vote in a general election in a particular year, a person's name must appear in a certified register of electors of that year. A register of electors is prepared for each electoral division in Singapore. A person is entitled to have his or her name entered or retained in an electoral register of a certain year if on 1 January of that year he or she is a Singapore citizen who is ordinarily resident in Singapore, is not less than 21 years old, and is not subject to any disqualifications. A person not resident in Singapore but entitled to have his or her name entered or retained in a register of electors for a particular electoral division may apply to be registered as an overseas elector any time before a writ of election is issued for any election in that division.
A person is disqualified from having his or her name entered or retained in a register of electors if he or she:
- has done any of the following:
- acquired or applied to acquire the citizenship of a country outside Singapore by registration, naturalisation or other voluntary and formal act other than marriage;
- voluntarily claimed and exercised rights available under the law of a country outside Singapore which are enjoyed exclusively by citizens or nationals of that country, except the use of a foreign passport;
- taken any oath or made any declaration or acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to any foreign power or state; or
- applied to the authorities of a place outside Singapore for the issue or renewal of a passport or used a passport issued by such authorities as a travel document;
- is serving a sentence of imprisonment imposed by any court in or outside Singapore for an offence punishable with imprisonment of more than 12 months; or has been sentenced to death by such a court or is serving a term of imprisonment in lieu of a death sentence;
- is found or declared to be of unsound mind under any written law;
- has been convicted of a corrupt or illegal practice under the PEA or the Presidential Elections Act, or an election judge reports that he or she has committed a corrupt or illegal practice;
- is a serving member on full pay of any naval, military or air force not maintained out of moneys provided by Parliament, unless he or she is domiciled (permanently resident) in Singapore; or
- is a person whose name has been expunged from the register or the register of electors under the Presidential Elections Act, and who has not yet had his or her name restored to the register.
A person is deemed to be ordinarily resident in Singapore on 1 January of a year if he or she has resided in Singapore for an aggregate of 30 days during the three years immediately preceding 1 January, even if he or she is not actually resident in Singapore on that date. However, such a person is not entitled to have his or her name entered or retained in any register of electors if:
- he or she is serving a sentence of imprisonment in any prison, jail or other place of detention outside Singapore; or
- there is in force against him or her a warrant of arrest issued by a Singapore court because he or she has been accused or convicted by a Singapore court of an offence against any written law punishable with more than 12 months' imprisonment.
The Prime Minister may from time to time, but not later than three years after the last general election, direct that the electoral registers be revised; and may, before a general election, require the registers to be brought up to date by reference to a particular year. After registers have been prepared or updated, they are made available for public inspection to enable people to submit claims to be included in registers or to raise objections concerning the inclusion of other people in the registers. After all claims and objections have been dealt with, the registers are certified as correct.
Issuance of writ of election
The election process begins when the President, acting on Cabinet's advice, issues a writ of election addressed to the returning officer, who is the official responsible for overseeing the election. The writ specifies the date when the nomination of candidates is to be taken (which must not be earlier than five days nor later than one month from the date of the writ), and the places of nomination.
The returning officer issues a notice stating that the writ of election has been issued by the President and stipulating the date, time and places for nomination of candidates, the documents that candidates must submit on nomination day, and the amount of the deposit that must be lodged. This notice must be issued at least four clear days before nomination day.
Application for minority certificate
Any person who wishes to participate in an election as a minority candidate in a GRC must, after the date of notice of the writ of election and at least two clear days before nomination day, apply to the Malay Community Committee or the Indian and Other Minority Communities Committee for a certificate stating that he or she is a person belonging to the Malay, Indian or some other minority community. Certificates to this effect will be issued by the respective committees not later than the day before nomination day.
Under the Political Donations Act, candidates for general elections may only receive political donations from Singapore citizens who are at least 21 years old, or Singapore-controlled companies which carry on business wholly or mainly in Singapore. The receipt of anonymous donations is prohibited, except for anonymous donations totalling less than $5,000 received during a period starting with the date 12 months before the date when the candidate makes the declaration referred to below and ending with nomination day.
After the date of the writ of election and at least two clear days before nomination day, a candidate or prospective candidate must provide the Registrar of Political Donations with a report stating all the donations received from permissible donors that amount to at least $10,000 received during the 12 months preceding the declaration mentioned in the next sentence. He or she must also submit to the Registrar a declaration stating, to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, that he or she did not receive any other donations required to be mentioned in the donation report, and that only donations from permissible donors or allowable anonymous donations were accepted. If this paperwork is in order, the Registrar will issue a political donation certificate not later than the eve of nomination day stating that the candidate has complied with the provisions of the Act.
On nomination day, the returning officer and his or her representatives will be present at designated nomination centres between 11:00 am and 12:00 noon to receive prospective candidates' nomination papers, political donation certificates, and minority certificates (if required). Each nomination paper must contain a statement signed by the prospective candidate that he or she consents to the nomination; must include a statutory declaration by the prospective candidate that he or she is qualified to be elected; and must be signed by a proposer, a seconder, and four or more persons as assentors, each of whom must be a person on the register of electors for the electoral division in which the person seeks election. Since the 2011 Presidential election, candidates are also recommended to submit their recent passport photo with a size of no more than 2 MB and 400 x 514 pixels, to the Election Department as photographs are printed to the ballot paper for better identification.
In addition, between the date of the writ of election and 12:00 noon on nomination day, candidates are required to lodge with the returning officer the election deposit equal to 8% of the total allowances payable to an MP in the preceding calendar year, rounded to the nearest $500. The exact amount of the deposit is specified in the notice of the writ of election issued by the returning officer. For the 2020 general election, the amount of the deposit was $13,500. A candidate who subsequently polls more than one-eighth of the total number of valid votes in the electoral division he or she contests but who is not elected will have the deposit returned; otherwise, the deposit is forfeited and paid into the Consolidated Fund (the Government's main bank account). For GRCs, the election deposit is multiplied by the number of candidates in a team; for Presidential election, the election deposit is tripled.
Nomination papers and certificates must be personally delivered to the returning officer in duplicate by the person seeking nomination. The person's proposer, seconder and at least four assentors must also be present in person; any authorized proxy representatives may also allow to represent candidates in-person if the candidate is unable to come on person such as illness. Each nomination paper is then posted outside the place of nomination; and candidates, their proposers, seconders, assentors and one other person appointed by each candidate to be present may examine the nomination papers of other candidates which have been received for that electoral division. Candidates may object to other candidates' nomination papers on the following grounds only:
- the description of the candidate is insufficient to identify him or her;
- the nomination paper does not comply with or was not delivered in accordance with the requirements of the law;
- it is apparent from the contents of the nomination paper that the candidate is not capable of being elected an MP;
- the requirements for elections in a GRC have not been complied with (for instance, the candidates are not all from the same political party or there is no minority candidate); and/or
- that a candidate has not lodged the required deposit.
The returning officer may himself or herself lodge objections. All objections must be made between 11:00 am and 12:30 pm on nomination day. The returning officer must then, with the least possible delay, decide on the validity of the objections made and inform candidates of his or her decision. If any objection is allowed, the grounds of the decision must be provided. The rejection of any objection is final and cannot be challenged in court, but any objections that are allowed may be reversed on application to an election judge.
Each candidate may only be nominated in one electoral division at a general election, and only nominated once in an electoral division. Multiple nominations are void.
At the close of the nomination period, where there is more than one candidate in an SMC or more than one group of candidates in a GRC, the election is adjourned for a poll to be taken, otherwise, the election is uncontested and the returning officer will declare that the candidate has or the group of candidates have been elected. The returning officer issues a notice of contested election which states when polling day will be (which must not be earlier than the 10th day nor later than the 56th day after publication of the notice); and information such as the names of the candidates, their proposers and seconders, the symbols allocated to candidates which will be printed on ballot papers, and the locations of polling stations.;
On or before nomination day, every candidate must declare to the returning officer the name of one person who will act as his or her election agent. This person is legally responsible for the conduct of the candidate's political campaign. In the case of a group of candidates contesting a GRC, a principal election agent must be appointed from among the candidates' election agents. Candidates may name themselves as their own election agents.
Election agents are required to appoint candidates' paid polling agents (persons who oversee polling at polling stations on behalf of candidates), clerks and messengers; hire committee rooms for the use of candidates; pay for expenses incurred for the conduct or management of the election; and receive money from third parties for election expenses.
Election expenses, and illegal and corrupt practices
The maximum amount which a candidate or his or her election agent can pay or incur for an election campaign is $4 for each elector in an SMC, or for each elector divided by the number of candidates in the group standing for election in a GRC. The following expenses are illegal practices:
- Paying to bring voters to or from the poll, except if certain voters need to cross the sea or a river to reach a polling station.
- Letting, lending, employing, hiring or borrowing a motor vehicle to bring voters to or from the poll.
- Paying any voter for the use of a house, land, building or premises for exhibiting any address, bill or notice, unless that voter's ordinary business is that of an advertising agent.
The penalty for committing in illegal practice is a fine of up to $2,000 and barred from being registered as an elector or participating in the election for three years within the date of conviction; if the person has been elected an MP prior to conviction, the seat is also vacated.
The following acts are corrupt practices:
- Bribery. Committing an act of bribery involves doing any one of a number of acts to induce a person to vote or refrain from voting or to reward him or her for having done so, such as giving or lending money; and giving or procuring an office or employment. It is also bribery for a person to procure or promise to procure that a voter exercise his or her vote in a certain way or that a candidate be elected as an MP in return for some inducement; to give money to someone else, knowing that he or she will use the money for bribery at an election; to accept an inducement for voting or not voting or agreeing to do so; and to induce a person to consent to being nominated as a candidate, or refrain or withdraw from being a candidate in return for some inducement.
- False statements. It is an offence to make or publish, before or during an election for the purpose of affecting the return of a candidate, any false statement of fact relating to the personal character or conduct of the candidate; or, in order to promote or procure the election of a particular candidate, to make any false statement about the withdrawal of another candidate.
- Personation. Personation is committed when a person applies for a ballot paper in the name of some other person, whether living, dead or fictitious; or, having already voted at an election, applies for another ballot paper to vote again.
- Treating. Treating is corruptly giving or providing, or paying in whole or part for, any food, drink, refreshment, cigarette, entertainment or other thing, or any money or ticket or other means to enable such things to be obtained, in order to corruptly influence a person to vote or refrain from voting, or to induce the person to attend an election meeting or reward him or her for having done so.
- Undue influence. When a person makes use of or threatens to make use of force, violence or restraint, or inflicts or threatens to inflict temporal or spiritual injury, damage, harm or loss on a person to induce him or her to vote or refrain from voting, or to punish him or her for having done so; or uses abduction, duress or some fraudulent scheme to impede or prevent a person's free exercise of his or her vote, or to compel or induce him or her to vote or refrain from voting, this amounts to the offence of undue influence.
The penalty for bribery, personation, treating and undue influence is a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment of up to three years or both; candidates declaring false statements is liable to be fined or imprisoned up to 12 months or both. Similar to illegal practices, candidates convicted are also disqualified from involvement in elections and the vacation of elected seats (if elected) for up to seven years upon conviction.
All election posters must bear the election department's stamp or chop if it is a legal poster approved by the election department.
Election surveys and exit polls
Between the day the writ of election is issued and the close of all polling stations on polling day, it is an offence to publish the results of any election survey, which is defined as an opinion survey of how electors will vote at an election, or of the preferences of electors concerning any candidate or group of candidates or any political party or issue with which an identifiable candidate or group of candidates is associated at an election. It is also an offense to publish on polling day before all the polling stations have closed any exit poll, that is, "any statement relating to the way in which voters have voted at the election where that statement is (or might reasonably be taken to be) based on information given by voters after they have voted", or "any forecast as to the result of the election which is (or might reasonably be taken to be) based on information so given". The penalty for both of these offences is a fine of up to $1,500, imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.
On 20 June 2013, the police, acting on directions of the Attorney-General's Chambers, gave Singapore Press Holdings ("SPH") and Warren Fernandez, respectively the publisher and editor of The Straits Times, a warning in lieu of prosecution for having published a voters' poll in the newspaper on 10 January. As this was the day after the writ of election for the 2013 by-election in Punggol East was issued, the publication of the poll contravened the ban against publishing election surveys during the blackout period. SPH accepted that an "internal lapse" had occurred.
Two forms of political advertising on the Internet are permitted during election time. First, during the election period – that is, the period between the day the writ of election is issued and the start of polling day – political parties, candidates or election agents may use the Internet to further candidates' campaigns, including using websites, chat rooms or discussion forums, video and photograph sharing or hosting websites, e-mail, micro-blog posts (such as Twitter), SMS and MMS messages, digital audio and video files, electronic media applications, and blogs and social networking services (such as Facebook). Election advertising sent by e-mail, micro-blog post, SMS or MMS must contain a functioning e-mail address or mobile phone number to enable recipients to indicate that they do not wish to receive further messages from the sender.
However, the Internet may not be used to publish the following:
- Election surveys.
- Appeals for money or other property in association with a representation that it will be applied for the objects or activities of any political party or for the promotion of any candidate or group of candidates.
- Any facility enabling members of the public to search for unlawful election advertising.
- Party political films not permitted by the Films Act.
Secondly, when candidates wish to publish election advertising on the Internet during the campaign period – that is, the period from the closure of the place of nomination on nomination day after the election is adjourned to enable a poll to be taken, to the start of the eve of polling day – they must provide to the returning officer, within 12 hours after the start of the period, declarations containing information on all the online platforms the advertising has appeared on in that time. Subsequently, a similar declaration must be provided before election advertising is published on such platforms.
Individuals who are Singapore citizens may publish on the Internet material that amounts to election advertising without having to comply with the above regulations so long as they do so personally and not at the direction of another person or on that person's behalf, and do not receive any benefit for doing so.
Political films and broadcasts, and campaign recordings
The Films Act defines a party political film as a film "(a) which is an advertisement made by or on behalf of any political party in Singapore or any body whose objects relate wholly or mainly to politics in Singapore, or any branch of such party or body; or (b) which is made by any person and directed towards any political end in Singapore". A film is regarded as being "directed towards a political end in Singapore" if it:
(a) contains wholly or partly any matter which, in the opinion of the Board [of Film Censors], is intended or likely to affect voting in any election or national referendum in Singapore; or
(b) contains wholly or partly references to or comments on any political matter which, in the opinion of the Board, are either partisan or biased; and "political matter" includes but is not limited to any of the following:
- (i) an election or a national referendum in Singapore;
- (ii) a candidate or group of candidates in an election;
- (iii) an issue submitted or otherwise before electors in an election or a national referendum in Singapore;
- (iv) the Government or a previous Government or the opposition to the Government or previous Government;
- (v) a Member of Parliament;
- (vi) a current policy of the Government or an issue of public controversy in Singapore; or
- (vii) a political party in Singapore or any body whose objects relate wholly or mainly to politics in Singapore, or any branch of such party or body.
In general, it is an offence for importing, reproducing, distributing or exhibiting any party political film, with a penalty of up to $100,000 fine or imprisonment of up to two years or both. However, a film is not regarded as a party political film if it is:
- one made only for news reporting by a licensed broadcasting service;
- one made only to inform or educate people on the procedures and polling times for an election or national referendum in Singapore;
- one that consists of a live recording of a lawful performance, assembly or procession that does not show any event, person or situation in a dramatic way;
- one that records a lawful event or occasion for those who took part in the event or occasion or are connected with them;
- a documentary having no animation and made entirely of an accurate account that shows actual events, persons or situations, but not a film that is an unscripted or "reality" type programme or that depicts those events, persons or situations dramatically; or
- a film created by a candidate or a political party without animation and dramatic elements made up entirely of the party's manifesto, or the candidate or party's ideology or declaration of policies that the candidate or party's candidates will seek to be elected on at a parliamentary or presidential election.
In addition, during the period starting with the day when the writ of election is issued and ending with the start of the eve of polling day, election campaign recordings are exempted from the requirement that films must be submitted to the Board of Film Censors for review, and may be published on and distributed through the Internet. Such recordings are unmodified live recordings of lawful performances, assemblies or processions held in connection with election activities which do not depict the proceedings in a dramatic way or consist of unscripted or "reality" type programmes.
Under content codes issued by the Media Development Authority, political advertising is not permitted on radio or television. Instead the Authority arranges for pre-recorded party political broadcasts to be made on radio and TV, one on the day after nomination day and the other on the eve of polling day. Only political parties fielding at least six candidates at an election are eligible to make a broadcast; independent candidates may not do so. Party political broadcasts must be delivered by candidates, and each broadcast must consist of a single script in each of the four official languages of Singapore: Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English. The duration of the permitted broadcast depends on the number of candidates each party is fielding, and ranges from two and a half minutes for a party fielding six or seven candidates, to 13 minutes for one fielding between 89 and 93 candidates. The number of candidates fielded also determines the order of broadcasts, with the broadcast of the party fielding the smallest number of candidates on first and that of the party fielding the largest number last.
The 2020 election introduced another "one-off specially arranged" televised series, "Constituency Political Broadcast", which are pre-recorded broadcasts featuring candidates airtime to persuade voters on television, as a replacement on physical rallies which was disallowed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Like Party Political Broadcasts, Constituency Political Broadcast allows the use of four official languages but can be used altogether instead of a single language, and any candidates are eligible, including independents. The duration for the broadcast was three minutes times the number of candidates and the alphabetical order of the constituencies determines the order of broadcast; each segment will feature either one GRC or two SMCs before commercials.
Banners and posters
Once nomination proceedings have ended on nomination day, the returning officer issues to each candidate, group of candidates or their election agents a permit authorising banners and posters to be displayed. The permit specifies the maximum number of banners and posters that may be displayed, any restrictions as to the places where or manner in which they must not be displayed, and the period after polling day within which they must be removed. All banners and posters must have a stamp bearing the returning officer's official mark on the bottom right-hand corner. They may not be displayed within 200 metres (660 ft) of any polling station or any shorter distance as the returning officer may specify. Among other things, it is an offence punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months to alter, deface, destroy, obliterate or remove any banner or poster, or to display a banner or poster in such a way as to obscure any banner or poster already displayed.
All election advertising contained in printed documents must bear on their face or, if there is more than one side of printed matter, on the first or last pages, the names and addresses of their printers, publishers, and the persons for whom the advertising was published. Failure to comply with this requirement amounts to a corrupt practice and is punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment of up to 12 months or both, along with the election disqualification (see Election expenses, and illegal and corrupt practices).
For election meetings such as rallies to be held, permits must be applied for from the Commissioner of Police at the Police Elections Liaison Office in the Police Cantonment Complex. The dates and venues for the meetings are fixed by the police, and candidates may apply for permits on a first-come-first-served basis the day before each meeting date. Although meetings can normally be held at Speakers' Corner without applying for a police permit, this privilege does not apply during election periods.
Introduced in 2010, legal changes were assessed on the eve of polling day for elections where campaigning and election advertising is prohibited under the Presidential Elections Act and the Parliamentary Elections Act, though the following activities are exceptions:
- distributing a book or promoting the sale of a book for not less than its commercial value if the book was planned to be published regardless of whether there was to be an election;
- publishing news relating to an election in a licensed newspaper in any medium or in a licensed radio or television broadcast;
- conveying one's own political views on a non-commercial basis to another individual by telephonic or electronic transmission;
- election advertising lawfully published or displayed before the start of the eve of polling day on the Internet which is not changed after its publication or display; and
- the continued lawful display of posters and banners already displayed before the start of the eve of polling day.
Badges, favours, flags, rosettes, symbols, sets of colours, advertisements, handbills, placards, posters and replica voting papers may not be carried, worn, used or displayed by any person or on any vehicle as political propaganda, although candidates may wear replicas of the symbols allotted to them for election purposes. In addition, holding election meetings and canvassing are not permitted on the day before polling day and polling day itself. Canvassing involves trying to persuade a person to vote or not to vote in a particular way, or visiting a voter for an election-related purpose at home or at his or her workplace. It is also an offence to exercise undue influence on any person at or near a polling station, for instance, by trying to find out the identity of any person entering a polling station, recording voters' particulars, and waiting outside or loitering within 200 metres (660 ft) of polling stations.
Voters receive poll cards informing them of the polling stations where they can cast their votes in person. Polling day at a general election is a public holiday, and voting is compulsory. Unless the returning officer decides otherwise, polling stations are open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on polling day. To vote, voters must go to the polling stations assigned to them. Applying for a ballot paper or voting in the name of someone else, or attempting to vote more than once, amounts to the offence of personation. If a person claiming to be a voter named in the electoral register turns up at a polling station after someone also claiming to be that voter has already voted, the second person is permitted to cast what is called a "tendered vote" using a ballot paper of a different colour after taking an oath to confirm his identity.
Introduced in 2005 but not used until the 2006 elections, voters are also allowed to cast their votes aboard outside Singapore at any one of the ten designated overseas polling stations (those being Dubai, London, Tokyo, Beijing, Washington D.C., Hong Kong, Shanghai, San Francisco, New York and Canberra) in addition to the eligibilities as a local voter, an additional criteria for eligibility as an overseas voter is that the voter must provide both a recent contact address (Local Contact Address (LCA)) and an overseas address on the voter's residence registered with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), and has resided in Singapore for an aggregate of at least 30 days during the 3-year period before the cut-off date.
Polling stations open based on the times from the Singapore time zone (UTC+08:00), from 8 am to 8 pm. Similar to votes cast locally, voting is also compulsory and can vote only once. After voting ended, the ballot boxes are sealed and are transported back to Singapore; the counting is conducted a few days after the election ended and once all the boxes are safely returned, though the counts of the votes do not affect the eventual outcome as the overseas electorate is much smaller, ranging from 558 during the debut to 6,570 in the recent 2020 election.
After the poll closes, the presiding officer of each polling station seals the ballot boxes without opening them. Candidates or their polling agents may also affix their own seals to the ballot boxes. The ballot boxes are then taken to counting centres to be opened and the ballots counted. According to the guidance issued to voters by the Elections Department, votes should be marked with a cross. However, even if this guidance is not followed, a vote is valid if the ballot paper clearly indicates the voter's intention and the candidate or group of candidates for whom he or she votes. A vote will be rejected by the returning officer as invalid if it:
- does not bear a complete authentication mark or is not initialled by the presiding officer at a polling station;
- contain votes for more than one candidate or group of candidates;
- has been written upon or marked in a way that identifies the voter;
- is blank; or
- is void for uncertainty.
The returning officer must show each ballot paper intended to be rejected to all candidates or their counting agents and hear their views, but makes the final decision as to whether the ballot paper should be rejected or not.
A candidate or his counting agent may ask the returning officer for a recount of votes if the difference between the number of votes for the candidate or group of candidates with the most votes and the number of votes (excluding any rejected and tendered votes) of any other candidate or group of candidates is within a 2% margin. After all counts, and recounts if any, have been completed, the returning officer ascertains whether the total number of electors registered to vote overseas is less than the difference between the number of votes for the two candidates with the highest number of votes. If so, the returning officer declares the candidate with the highest number of votes to be elected as president. If not, the overseas votes may be decisive. The returning officer then states the number of votes cast for each candidate and the date and location where the overseas votes will be counted. Since the 2020 elections, recounts are now triggered automatically.
All officers, clerks, interpreters, candidates and candidates' agents at polling stations must maintain the secrecy of voting in stations. Before the poll is closed, they must not communicate to anyone the name of any elector who has or has not yet voted or his or her or identification number on the electoral register. They are prohibited from communicating information obtained during the counting of votes as to which candidate has been voted for in any particular ballot paper. Furthermore, no person is allowed to try to find out from within a polling station who a voter intends to vote for or has voted for, or to communicate with a voter after he has been given a ballot paper but before he has placed it in a ballot box.
Introduced during the 2015 elections, sample counts are also done during the vote counting process which prevent speculation and misinformation, while helping election officials check against the election result for that electoral division. 100 votes are selected at random and are weighed according to the size of ballots based on each polling station for the constituency. The counts are published by the assistant returning officer through broadcast and internet before vote counting is complete, which is always shown as an integer. Election Department announced that the results may differ from the actual results with error margins within a 4-5% range, and advised the public to refer to the returning officer for the actual results.
Declaration that election is void
A person claiming to have been a candidate at a general election or to have had a right to be elected, or a person who voted or had a right to vote at a general election, may apply to an election judge for a candidate's election to be declared void on any of the following grounds:
- The majority of voters was or might have been prevented from electing their preferred candidate due to a general occurrence of bribery, treating, intimidation or some other form of misconduct or circumstances.
- There was a failure to comply with the Parliamentary Elections Act and this affected the result of the election.
- A corrupt or illegal practice in connection with the election was committed by the candidate, or by an agent of the candidate with his knowledge or consent.
- The candidate personally hired someone as an election agent, canvasser or agent while aware that the person had been found guilty of a corrupt practice within the seven years before he was engaged.
- At the time the candidate was elected, he was disqualified from standing for election.
The applicant for an election to be avoided may ask for a declaration that the election is void, that a particular candidate was wrongfully declared to have been elected, and/or that another candidate was duly elected. The applicant may also request for a scrutiny – that is, a re-examination of the ballot papers – if he or she alleges that an unsuccessful candidate had a majority of lawful votes. When a scrutiny is conducted, the election judge may order a vote to be struck off if the voter was not on the register of electors assigned to the polling station at which the vote was recorded or was not authorised to vote at the station; if the vote was obtained by bribery, treating or undue influence; if the voter committed or induced someone to commit the offence of personation; if the voter cast a vote at a general election in more than one electoral division; and if the vote was for a disqualified candidate and the disqualification was either a matter that the voter was aware of or was sufficiently publicised or widely known. During a scrutiny, a tendered vote that is shown to be valid will be added to the poll if any party to the proceedings asks for the vote to be added. On the other hand, a registered elector's vote will not be struck off at a scrutiny just because he was not qualified to be on the electoral register, and the returning officer's decision as to whether or not a ballot paper should be rejected may not be questioned.
The election judge is empowered to exempt from being an illegal practice any particular act or omission by a candidate, his election agents or any other agent or person in paying a sum, incurring an expense or entering into a contract if it was done in good faith and was due to inadvertence, accidental miscalculation or the like. Similarly, the judge may make an order allowing an authorised excuse for a failure to file a proper return or declaration relating to election expenses if the candidate or his principal election agent shows that he acted in good faith and that there is a reasonable explanation for the shortcoming such as his inadvertence or illness, or the absence, death, illness or misconduct of some other agent, clerk or officer. In particular, the judge may relieve a candidate from the consequences of an act or omission by his principal election agent if he did not sanction or connive in it and took all reasonable means to prevent it.
The election judge certifies his decision, which is final, to the President. The judge must also report to the President whether any corrupt or illegal practice was established to have been committed by or with the knowledge and consent of any candidate or his agent. If a judge intends to report a person who was neither a party to the proceedings nor a candidate claiming he should have been declared elected, that person must be given an opportunity to be heard and to give and call evidence to show why a report should not be made against him. However, where a candidate's agents are found to have been guilty of treating, undue influence or an illegal practice, but the candidate proves that the offences were committed contrary to his orders and without his or his election agents' sanction or connivance, that all reasonable means were taken to prevent corrupt and illegal practices at the election, that the offences were of a trivial and limited nature, and in other respects the election was free from corrupt or illegal practice, the election is not void.
Depending on whether the judge has determined that the election was valid or void, the election return is confirmed or altered. If the election is declared void, the President is empowered to order that another election be held in the electoral division concerned within one month of the determination. If the election of one MP in a GRC is determined to be void, the election of the other MPs for that constituency is also void.
Election department ensure the privacy of all registered voters during an election and how the ballot boxes are treated. Prior to the opening hours, the boxes are checked to ensure the contents are empty and not tampered under the witness of candidates and their polling agents present at the polling station, before being sealed by Presiding Officers (except for opening slots) so that it can be used. After the polls closed, the boxes, along with the slots, are sealed and wrapped before being transported to the designated counting centre by bus under police escort. Upon arrival, the boxes are checked and accounted before it can be opened and emptied to begin vote counting.
After the vote counting ended and results are released, the ballot papers and any other official documents used in the election are placed into separate boxes and sealed; these boxes are transported to the Supreme Court of Singapore where it was kept under safe custody for period of six months after election ended, after which the boxes are transported to the incineration plant for incineration, unless directed otherwise by order of the President. Under the protection act, the process is to ensure all of the voters' identity are not compromised, as contents inside each ballot paper have a unique serial number located on the counterfoil to ensure integrity of the democratic process and strict accounting to avoid infringement and personation.
Under the constitution, voting in Singapore is compulsory as voting is exercising fundamental right of citizenship and democracy. After polls closed, any names (and along with the serial numbers) of registered voters who did not cast a vote that day are complied in a list to be sent to the Returning Officer, after which the names are delisted from the registrar of voters of the electoral divisions that they belong to. The consequence for abstention is the ineligibility to vote or participation in future elections of any kind. These voters are also called "non-voters"; any non-voter may reinstate their names by submitting an application, either through the online website or counter services at a nearby community centre, to the Registration Officer along with any reason for absence; the fee to restore a name is S$50, but it can be waived if their reasons are valid, such as:
- working overseas (including being on a business trip) at the time of polling day;
- studying overseas at the time of polling day;
- living with their spouse who is working or studying overseas;
- overseas vacation;
- illness, or delivering a baby; or
- any special circumstances that cause a voter unable to vote that day, such as a technical glitch.
Restoration of names can be done anytime except on election periods, between the day the Writ of Election is issued and Polling day; if the voter is unable to vote due to unforeseen circumstances, he may pre-apply for his name to be restored to the registers by submitting an application online prior to polling day; however, such cases can still allow the voter to vote, but doing so voids the earlier application.
Past elections and latest election
With effect from 3 June 1959, Singapore was granted full internal self-government by the British Government and became known as the State of Singapore. For the first time, Singapore had a fully elected Legislative Assembly. At the 1959 general election held on 30 May that year to give effect to the new constitution, the People's Action Party (PAP) led by Lee Kuan Yew swept into power with 43 out of 51 seats in the Assembly. Since then, the PAP has retained power and formed the Government through successive elections, and Singapore's merger with Malaysia in 1963 and full independence in 1965. In the 1968 general election, the PAP was returned unopposed in all except seven of the 58 constituencies, and won the remaining seats with 84% of the popular vote. Thereafter, every seat in Parliament was held by a PAP MP until Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam of the Workers' Party of Singapore won a 1981 by-election in the Anson constituency. Jeyaretnam retained his seat at the following general election in 1984, at which Chiam See Tong of the Singapore Democratic Party was also elected as representative of Potong Pasir. Between 1984 and 2011, the number of elected parliamentary seats held by opposition parties fluctuated between one (after the 1988 election) and four (1991 election).
The latest general election in 2020 saw PAP's overall vote share dropped to 61.24% which was the lowest share since the 2011 elections and winning 83 out of 93 seats. For the first time, an opposition party – the Workers' Party – captured multiple GRCs with the newly formed four-seat Sengkang GRC (also the first time a newly formed constituency was won by the opposition on the first attempt) as well as retaining Hougang SMC and a five-seat Aljunied GRC, leaving the PAP with 83 out of 93 seats.
|People's Action Party||1,527,491||61.23||83||0|
|Progress Singapore Party||253,996||10.18||0||New|
|Singapore Democratic Party||111,054||4.45||0||0|
|National Solidarity Party||93,653||3.75||0||0|
|Singapore People's Party||37,998||1.52||0||0|
|Singapore Democratic Alliance||37,237||1.49||0||0|
|Red Dot United||31,260||1.25||0||New|
|People's Power Party||7,489||0.30||0||0|
|Source: Singapore Elections|
By-elections are elections held to fill seats in Parliament that fall vacant in between general elections, known as casual vacancies. In the past, the Government took the position that the Prime Minister had discretion whether or not a by-election should be called to fill a casual vacancy in an SMC, and could leave a parliamentary seat unfilled until the next general election. However, in the case of Vellama d/o Marie Muthu v. Attorney-General (2013), which arose from a vacancy in Hougang SMC, the Court of Appeal held that the Constitution obliges the Prime Minister to call a by-election unless a general election is going to be held in the near future. However, a by-election need only be called within a reasonable time, and the Prime Minister has discretion to determine when it should be held.
The law provides that a by-election need only be called in a GRC if all the MPs in the constituency vacate their seats. It has been argued that the law should be amended, otherwise electors living in a GRC where a vacancy has arisen will lack parliamentary representation, and with a missing MP the remaining MPs may find it difficult to deal with constituency matters. Also, if the MP who vacates his or her seat is from a minority community and the seat is not filled, this would defeat the purpose of the GRC scheme which is to ensure a minimum level of minority representation in Parliament. In response, the Government has said that the other MPs of the GRC continue to represent the electors and should be able to handle constituency matters without any problems. Moreover, the loss of one minority MP in a GRC should not make much difference in practice as there will be other minority MPs in Parliament.
NCMPs are only declared to be elected at general elections, and there is no provision for the seat of an NCMP to be filled if it falls vacant. On the other hand, if an NMP vacates his or her seat, a Special Select Committee of Parliament may nominate a replacement to be appointed by the President.
- Constituencies of Singapore
- Elections in Singapore
- Parliament of Singapore
- Presidential elections in Singapore
- Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (1985 Rev. Ed., 1999 Reprint), Article 39(1).
- Constitution, Art. 65(4).
- Constitution, Art. 65(3). The President is required to dissolve Parliament if the office of Prime Minister is vacant and he is satisfied in his personal discretion that a reasonable period has elapsed since the office was vacated and there is no MP likely to command the confidence of a majority of MPs: Art. 65(2).
- Constitution, Art. 66.
- According to the Constitution, Art. 39(3), a constituency is construed as an electoral division for the purposes of Parliamentary elections.
- Parliamentary Elections Act (Cap. 218, 2011 Rev. Ed.) ("PEA").
- For more information on the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee, see "Group Representation Constituency#Number and boundaries of electoral divisions".
- Constitution, Art. 39A(1)(a); PEA, s. 8A(1)(a).
- Constitution, Art. 39A; PEA, ss. 8A and 22. A person is regarded as belonging to the Malay, Indian or other minority communities if he or she considers himself or herself to be a member of the community and is generally accepted as such by that community: Constitution, Art. 39A(4). Two committees exist to determine whether a person qualifies as a member of a minority community – a Malay Community Committee and an Indian and Other Minority Communities Committee: PEA, s. 27C; Appointment of Members of Malay Community Committee (Gazette Notification (G.N.) No. 1025/2020 ), archived from the original; and Appointment of Members of Indian and Other Minority Communities Committee (G.N. No. 1026/2020), archived from the original, both dated 23 June 2020 and archived on 30 June 2020. The procedures of these committees are regulated by the Parliamentary Elections (Malay Community Committee) Regulations (Cap. 218, Rg. 1, 2011 Rev. Ed.), archived from the original; and the Parliamentary Elections (Indian and Other Minority Communities Committee) Regulations (Cap. 218, Rg. 2, 2011 Rev. Ed.), archived from the original, both in force from 1 April 2020 and archived on 30 June 2020.
- "White Paper on the Report of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee, 2020" (PDF). Electoral Boundaries Review Committee. 13 March 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
- "Parliamentary Elections Act (Chapter 218) - Parliamentary Elections (Designation of Group Representation Constituencies) Order 2020 - S 160/2020" (PDF). Singapore Gazette. 13 March 2020.
- PEA, s. 27A(3).
- ST. "Electoral boundaries committee convened in first formal step towards next Singapore GE". The Straits Times. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
- Constitution, Art. 44(2).
- Constitution, Art. 45(1).
- If the conviction is by a court of law in Malaysia, the person shall not be disqualified unless the offence is also one which, had it been committed in Singapore, would have been punishable by a court of law in Singapore: Constitution, Art. 45(1)(e).
- For this purpose, Commonwealth countries and the Republic of Ireland are not considered as "foreign countries": Constitution, Art. 45(3).
- Constitution, Arts. 45(1)(d) and (e).
- Constitution, Art. 45(2).
- PEA, s. 10(1).
- PEA, s. 5(4) read with the Parliamentary Elections (Prescribed Date) Order 2011 (S 3/2011) dated 3 January 2011, archived from the original on 10 May 2011.
- PEA, s. 5(1).
- PEA, s. 13A. The conduct of overseas voting is regulated by the Parliamentary Elections (Overseas Voting) Regulations 2006 (S 234/2006), in force from 19 April 2006, archived from the original on 10 May 2011.
- PEA, s. 6(1).
- Voting in (a) any national, state or provincial election, or (b) any election for the local government of any metropolitan or urban area, in a country outside Singapore (other than as an overseas elector during a Singapore election) is deemed to be the voluntary claim and exercise of a right available under the law of that country: PEA, s. 6(3).
- Where the conviction is by a foreign court, the person is not disqualified unless the offence is one which would have been punishable by a Singapore court if it had been committed in Singapore: PEA, s. 6(2).
- Presidential Elections Act (Cap. 240A, 2007 Rev. Ed.).
- PEA, s. 96.
- PEA, s. 5(1A).
- PEA, s. 6(1A).
- PEA, s. 14(1).
- PEA, s. 10(1A).
- PEA, ss. 11 and 16.
- PEA, ss. 13 and 17.
- PEA, s. 24(1).
- PEA, s. 24(2).
- PEA, s. 25. Where an act is required to be done a specified number of clear days before or after a specified date, at least that number of days must intervene between the day on which the act is done and that date: compare the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5, 2014 Rev. Ed.), Order 3 rule 2(4).
- PEA, s. 27A(5).
- PEA, s. 27A(6). Such certificates are conclusive as to the facts they certify: s. 27A(7).
- Political Donations Act (Cap. 236, 2001 Rev. Ed.) ("PDA").
- PDA, s. 14(1)(a) read with s. 2(1) (definition of permissible donor).
- PDA, s. 14(1)(b).
- PDA, ss. 14(2) and 14(4)(b).
- PDA, ss. 18(1)(a), 18(2) and 18(6). A nil return is required: s. 18(3).
- PDA, s. 18(1)(b).
- PDA, s. 18(4). A political donation certificate is conclusive as to the facts it certifies: s. 18(5).
- PEA, ss. 27(3)(b), 27B(3) and 29(1).
- PEA, ss. 27(2) and 27B(2).
- "SUBMISSION OF PHOTOGRAPH FOR BALLOT PAPER" (PDF). ELD. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- "Submit your Photo for the Ballot paper" (PDF). Election Department. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- "Elections Department announces revisions 'to enhance election processes'". Channel NewsAsia. 20 August 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- PEA, s. 28(1).
- "Parliamentary Elections Act – Writ of Election". Notification No. 1203 of 2020 (PDF). Republic of Singapore Government Gazette. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 June 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
- PEA, s. 28(4A).
- PEA, s. 29(2).
- Candidate Handbook for General Election 2020 (PDF). 3.4: Election Department. p. 13. Retrieved 24 August 2020.CS1 maint: location (link)
- PEA, s. 29(3).
- PEA, s. 29(4).
- PEA, s. 30(1).
- PEA, s. 30(2)(b).
- PEA, s. 30(4).
- PEA, s. 30(2)(a).
- PEA, s. 30(5).
- PEA, s. 30(6).
- PEA, s. 32A.
- PEA, ss. 34(1)(a) and 34A(1)(a).
- PEA, s. 33.
- PEA, ss. 34 and 34A.
- PEA, ss. 62(1) and (3). Each candidate may only appoint one election agent: s. 62(4).
- PEA, s. 61(5).
- PEA, s. 62(2).
- PEA, s. 64(1).
- PEA, s. 65(1). Contracts for election expenses are not enforceable against a candidate if not made by the candidate or his or her election agent: s. 64(2).
- PEA, s. 65(1A). Such money can also be received by candidates personally: ibid. It is an illegal practice for a person to make any payment, advance or deposit other than through an election agent: s. 65(3).
- PEA, s. 69(1) and the 3rd Sch.
- PEA, ss. 70(1)(a) and 70(2)(b).
- PEA, s. 71(1). The prohibition does not apply to people employing motor vehicles to convey themselves or their spouse, parents or children to and from the poll: ss. 71(2) and (3). Also, a candidate is not liable nor is his or her election avoided if the illegal conveyance of voters to or from the poll is committed without his or her consent or connivance by a person other than his or her election agent: s. 71(1A).
- PEA, ss. 70(1)(b) and 70(2)(a).
- PEA, s. 79(1).
- PEA, s. 60.
- PEA, s. 61(1)(d).
- PEA, s. 61(1)(e).
- PEA, s. 57(1).
- PEA, s. 58(1). A person also commits an act of treating if he or she corruptly accepts some inducement given: s. 58(2).
- PEA, s. 59.
- PEA, ss. 61(1)(a), (b), (i) and (ii).
- PEA, s. 61(1)(iv).
- PEA, s. 61(2).
- PEA, ss. 78C(1) and (4).
- PEA, s. 78D(1).
- PEA, ss. 78C(2) and 78D(2).
- Stern Warnings Issued to Singapore Press Holdings and ST Editor (PDF), Attorney-General's Chambers, 20 June 2013, archived from the original (PDF) on 26 June 2013; Kok Xing Hui (21 June 2013), "AGC warns SPH over by-election poll", Today, archived from the original on 26 June 2013.
- PEA, s. 78A(3).
- Electronic media application is defined in reg. 2 of the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations (Cap. 218, Rg. 3, 2011 Rev. Ed.), archived from the original on 10 May 2011 ("Election Advertising Regulations") and issued under the PEA, s. 78A, as including "(a) any banner, logo or small icon that is capable of being posted on any social networking service, micro-blog, website or other form of electronic media; or (b) any other software or programme used in connection with a computer or other electronic device and which may be used for communicating or transmitting election advertising among users in any format, such as but not limited to digital banners, RSS feed readers, widgets, mobile applications and other instant messaging software or programmes".
- Election Advertising Regulations, reg. 4(1).
- Election Advertising Regulations, regs. 4(3) and (3A).
- Election Advertising Regulations, reg. 4(4).
- Films Act (Cap. 107, 1998 Rev. Ed.) ("FA").
- Election Advertising Regulations, reg. 2.
- Election Advertising Regulations, reg. 6.
- Parliamentary Elections (Corrupt Practices – Exempt Circumstances and Activities) Order 2011 (S 131/2011) dated 14 March 2011, archived from the original on 10 May 2011, made pursuant to the PEA, s. 61(6)(e).
- FA, s. 2(1).
- FA, s. 2(2).
- FA, s. 33.
- FA, s. 2(3).
- Paragraph 2 (definition of election period) of the Films (Election Campaign Recordings – Exemption) Notification 2011 (S 133/2011) dated 14 March 2011, archived from the original on 10 May 2011 ("Campaign Recordings Notification"), issued under the FA, s. 40(2).
- Campaign Recordings Notification, para. 4.
- Campaign Recordings Notification, paras. 5 and 6.
- Campaign Recordings Notification, para. 2 (definition of election campaign recording). Election activity is any activity "(a) that takes place within any election period; and (b) that is for the purpose of promoting or procuring the electoral success of one or more identifiable political parties, candidates or groups of candidates at any election or otherwise enhancing the standing of any such political parties, candidates or groups of candidates with the electorate in connection with any election": ibid.
- Paragraph 31 of the Radio Advertising and Sponsorship Code dated 31 March 2011, archived from the original on 10 May 2011; and para. 27 of the TV Advertising Code dated 28 February 2011, archived from the original on 10 May 2011, which state: "[Unless permitted by law,] no advertisement may be inserted by or on behalf of any body whose objectives are wholly or mainly of a political nature, and no advertisements may be directed towards any political end." (The phrase in brackets appears only in the radio code.)
- Paragraph 3 of the General Election 2011 Party Political Broadcasts guideline dated 23 April 2011, archived from the original on 10 May 2011 ("Political Broadcasts guideline").
- Political Broadcasts guideline, paras. 1 and 2.
- Political Broadcasts guideline, para. 14.
- Constitution, Art. 153A.
- Political Broadcasts guideline, paras. 5 and 11.
- Political Broadcasts guideline, para. 4.
- Political Broadcasts guideline, paras. 16 and 17. If two or more political parties have an equal number of candidates, the broadcast order is decided by a draw carried out in the presence of the Chief Executive Officer of the Media Development Authority and the parties' authorized representatives: para. 18.
- "Party Political Broadcasts And Constituency Political Broadcasts For General Election 2020". IMDA. 1 July 2020. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
- Election Advertising Regulations, reg. 10.
- Election Advertising Regulations, reg. 12(1).
- Election Advertising Regulations, reg. 18.
- PEA, s. 78(4).
- Election Advertising Regulations, reg. 23(a).
- Election Advertising Regulations, reg. 23(b) read with reg. 17.
- PEA, ss. 61(1)(c)(i), 61(1)(iii) and 61(2).
- Public Order (Election Meetings) Regulations 2009 (S 486/2009), archived from the original on 9 August 2011, issued pursuant to the Public Order Act 2009 (No. 15 of 2009).
- About us, Police Elections Liaison Office, Singapore Police Force, 2011, archived from the original on 9 August 2011, retrieved 9 August 2011.
- The venues used for the 2011 general elections are set out in Police news release: Election meeting sites (PDF), Public Affairs Department, Singapore Police Force, 27 April 2011, archived from the original (PDF) on 9 August 2011, retrieved 9 August 2011.
- See the PEA, s. 80A(2), the Public Entertainments and Meetings (Speakers' Corner) (Exemption) (Revocation) Order 2011 (S 207/2011) and the Public Order (Unrestricted Area) (Revocation) Order 2011 (S 208/2011). Following the election, Speakers' Corner's status as a no-permit-required zone was restored by the Public Entertainments and Meetings (Speakers' Corner) (Exemption) Order 2011 (S 249/2011) and the Public Order (Unrestricted Area) Order 2011 (S 250/2011).
- PEA, s. 78B, inserted by the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Act 2010 (No. 10 of 2010).
- Kor Kian Beng (2 December 2009), "Opposition: PAP will have unfair edge", The Straits Times; see also S. Ramesh (1 December 2009), Mixed reactions to PM's proposal of one-day cool-off before Polling Day, Channel NewsAsia, retrieved 8 September 2010"Balancing a strong govt and a diversity of voices", The Straits Times, 28 April 2010
- PEA, 1st Sch., Form 12, read with s. 40(3A).
- PEA, s. 77. The penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 or jail of up to 12 months: s. 77(4).
- PEA, s. 77(2).
- PEA, s. 80A(1).
- PEA, s. 80(1). A person is presumed to have been canvassing if he enters or is seen at more than two houses or workplaces of voters in the same polling district other than his own home or workplace, unless the contrary is proved: s. 80(5). The penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 and jail of up to 12 months: s. 80(2).
- PEA, s. 82(1). The penalty is a fine of up to $2,000 or jail of up to 12 months or both: s. 82(2).
- PEA, s. 35.
- PEA, s. 43.
- PEA, s. 39(3).
- PEA, s. 39(1).
- PEA, s. 57(1). The penalty is a fine of up to $5,000 or jail of up to three years or both: s. 61(1)(i).
- PEA, s. 46.
- "ELD - Overseas Polling Station". Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- "ELD - OVERSEAS VOTERS". Election Department. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- Press Release: Certification of Registers of Electors, 2006 (PDF) Archived 24 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine – Election Department, 17 February 2006.
- Elections Department (29 June 2020). "Press Release on Voting for Singaporeans Overseas" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 July 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- PEA, s. 48(2). The same process is applied to other documents used in the poll, namely, unused and spoilt ballot papers, marked copies of the register of electors, counterfoils of ballot papers and the tendered votes list: s. 48(1).
- PEA, s. 48(3). A polling station may be designated a counting place as well: s. 48(4).
- PEA, 2nd Sch, para. 3, read with s. 42(7).
- PEA, s. 50(2).
- PEA, s. 50(1).
- PEA, ss. 50(3) and (4).
- PEA, ss. 49B(1) and (4). A candidate is only permitted to make one application for a recount: s. 49B(3).
- PEA, s. 49(7).
- "Singapore GE2020: Automatic recount if difference in votes between candidates is 2% or less". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- "GUIDE FOR COUNTING AGENTS FOR GENERAL ELECTION 2020" (PDF). elections department. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 July 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- PEA, s. 56(3). However, a presiding officer at a polling station may, at his discretion before the poll has closed, disclose to a candidate or his election agent the total number of voters who have voted at the station: s. 56(3A).
- PEA, ss. 56(3) to (6). The penalty for contravening these provisions is a fine of up to $1,500 or jail of up to nine months or both: s. 56(7).
- Othman, Liyana (2 September 2015). "Elections Department to conduct sample counts on Polling Day". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
- "Sample Counts" (PDF). Elections Department. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
- PEA, s. 93.
- PEA, s. 90.
- PEA, 92(1).
- PEA, s. 94.
- See the PEA, s. 39.
- PEA, s. 99(1).
- PEA, s. 99(3).
- PEA, s. 99(2).
- PEA, s. 101.
- PEA, s. 87.
- PEA, ss. 88(1) and (4).
- PEA, s. 88(5).
- PEA, s. 95(2).
- PEA, s. 95(1).
- PEA, s. 96(1). The President must publish the report in the Government Gazette: s. 96(5).
- PEA, s. 96(2).
- PEA, s. 86.
- PEA, s. 95(3).
- "ELD Ballot Secrecy". Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- "GE2020: ELD apologises for miscommunication that prevented woman from voting – report". Yahoo! SG. 14 July 2020.
- "Woman did not get to vote on Polling Day due to 'human error and miscommunication': ELD". CNA. 15 July 2020.
- "WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I DID NOT VOTE IN A PAST ELECTION?". Election Department. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- C[onstance] M[ary] Turnbull (2009), A History of Modern Singapore, 1819–2005, Singapore: NUS Press, p. 271, ISBN 978-9971-69-343-5.
- Turnbull, pp. 309–310.
- Turnbull, p. 333.
- Turnbull, p. 335.
- As the Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) scheme had been introduced in 1984, Lee Siew Choh of the Workers' Party became an NCMP following the 1988 general election: Turnbull, p. 340.
- Turnbull, p. 351.
- Thio Li-ann (2012), "The Legislature and the Electoral System", A Treatise on Singapore Constitutional Law, Singapore: Academy Publishing, pp. 285–359 at 358, para. 06.187, ISBN 978-981-07-1516-8, citing Lee Hsien Loong (Prime Minister), "Parliamentary Elections", Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Official Report (27 August 2008), vol. 84, cols. 3397–3399.
- Vellama d/o Marie Muthu v. Attorney-General  SGCA 39,  4 S.L.R. [Singapore Law Reports] 1, Court of Appeal (Singapore) ("Vellama (C.A.)"). The abbreviation d/o means "daughter of".
- Vellama (C.A.), pp. 36–37, paras. 84–85.
- PEA, s. 24(2A).
- See, for example, J. B. Jeyaretnam (Non-constituency Member of Parliament), "Vacancy in Parliament", Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Official Report (6 July 1999), vol. 70, col. 1756; Clarissa Oon (1 August 2008), "By-election: pragmatism or principle?" (PDF), The Straits Times (reproduced on the Singapore Management University website), p. 32, archived from the original (PDF) on 4 May 2014.
- Thio, "The Legislature and the Electoral System", p. 356, para. 06.180.
- Thio, "The Legislature and the Electoral System", p. 358, para. 06.189.
- Halimah Yacob (Jurong GRC), "Parliamentary Elections", Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Official Report (27 August 2008), vol. 83, col. 3384.
- Lee, "Parliamentary Elections" (27 August 2008), col. 3403.
- Constitution, Art. 49(2)(b); Vellama d/o Marie Muthu v. Attorney-General  SGHC 155,  4 S.L.R. 698 at 725, para. 80, High Court (Singapore) ("Vellama (H.C.)"), archived from the original on 24 April 2014.
- Constitution, Art. 49(2)(a) and the Fourth Schedule, para. 4(2); Vellama (H.C.), p. 725, paras. 76–77.
- Vellama d/o Marie Muthu v. Attorney-General  SGHC 155,  4 S.L.R. [Singapore Law Reports] 698, High Court (Singapore), archived from the original on 24 April 2014 ("Vellama (H.C.)").
- Vellama d/o Marie Muthu v. Attorney-General  SGCA 39,  4 S.L.R. 1, Court of Appeal (Singapore) ("Vellama (C.A.)").
- Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (1985 Rev. Ed., 1999 Reprint).
- Films Act (Cap. 107, 1998 Rev. Ed.) ("FA").
- Films (Election Campaign Recordings – Exemption) Notification 2011 (S 133/2011) dated 14 March 2011, archived from the original on 10 May 2011 ("Campaign Recordings Notification").
- Parliamentary Elections Act (Cap. 218, 2011 Rev. Ed.) ("PEA").
- Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations (Cap. 218, Rg. 3, 2011 Rev. Ed.), archived from the original on 10 May 2011 ("Election Advertising Regulations").
- Political Donations Act (Cap. 236, 2001 Rev. Ed.) ("PDA").
- General Election 2011 Party Political Broadcasts guideline dated 23 April 2011, archived from the original on 10 May 2011 ("Political Broadcasts guideline").
- "Parliamentary Elections", Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Official Report (27 August 2008), vol. 84, cols. 3328–3434.
- Thio Li-ann (2012), "The Legislature and the Electoral System", A Treatise on Singapore Constitutional Law, Singapore: Academy Publishing, pp. 285–359, ISBN 978-981-07-1516-8.
- Turnbull, C[onstance] M[ary] (2009), A History of Modern Singapore, 1819–2005, Singapore: NUS Press, ISBN 978-9971-69-343-5.
- Bellows, Thomas J. (2009), "Meritocracy and the Singapore Political System", Asian Journal of Political Science, 17 (1): 24–44, doi:10.1080/02185370902767581, S2CID 153839449.
- Gomez, James (2008), "Online Opposition in Singapore: Communications Outreach without Electoral Gain", Journal of Contemporary Asia, 38 (4): 591–612, doi:10.1080/00472330802311779, S2CID 154822913.
- Singh, Bilveer (1994), "Singapore: Change amidst Continuity", Southeast Asian Affairs, 1994: 267–284, doi:10.1355/SEAA94P.
- Welsh, Bridget (23 June 2011), "Soul Searching Singapore's 2011 General Election" (PDF), Asia Pacific Bulletin (118).
- Da Cunha, Derek (1997), The Price of Victory: The 1997 Singapore General Election and Beyond, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, ISBN 978-981-3055-88-9.
- Elections in Singapore: Are They Free and Fair?, [Singapore]: Open Singapore Centre, 2000, ISBN 978-981-04-3391-8.
- Handbook for Parliamentary Election Candidates 2011 (PDF), Singapore: Elections Department, 2011, OCLC 720120015, retrieved 9 August 2011.
- Josey, Alex (1968), The Crucial Years Ahead: Republic of Singapore General Election 1968, Singapore: Donald Moore Press, OCLC 3118681.
- Josey, Alex (1970), Democracy in Singapore: The 1970 By-elections, Singapore: Donald Moore for Asia Pacific Press, OCLC 138090.
- Josey, Alex (1972), The Singapore General Elections, 1972, Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, OCLC 707205.
- Karan, Kavita; Kuo, Eddie C.Y.; Lee, Shu Hui (2010), Singapore General Elections, 2001: Study of the Media Politics and Public, Singapore: Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC); School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, ISBN 978-981-08-6720-1.
- Kuo, Eddie C.Y.; Holaday, Duncan; Peck, Eugenia (1993), Mirror on the Wall: Media in a Singapore Election, Singapore: Asian Mass Communication Research and Information Centre, ISBN 978-9971-905-55-2.
- Lam, Dana (2006), Days of Being Wild: GE2006, Walking the Line with the Opposition, Singapore: Ethos Books, ISBN 978-981-05-7051-4.
- Lim, Catherine (2011), A Watershed Election: Singapore's GE 2011, Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, ISBN 978-981-4351-70-6.
- Mauzy, Diane K.; Milne, R.S. (2002), Singapore Politics under the People's Action Party, London; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-24653-8.
- Pugalenthi Sr. (2006), "Elections in Singapore: 1997 & 2001", VJ Times, Singapore, ISBN 978-981-221-995-4.
- Singh, Bilveer (1992), Whither PAP's Dominance?: An Analysis of Singapore's 1991 General Elections, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia: Pelanduk Publications, ISBN 978-967-978-418-3.
- Tan, Kevin Y L; Lee, Terence, eds. (2011), Voting in Change: Politics of Singapore's 2011 General Election, Singapore: Ethos Books, ISBN 978-981-08-9096-4.
- Yeo, Lay Hwee (2002), "Electoral Politics in Singapore" (PDF), in Croissant, Aurel; Bruns, Gabriele; John, Marei (eds.), Electoral Politics in Southeast and East Asia, Singapore: Office for Regional Cooperation, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, pp. 203–232, ISBN 978-981-04-6020-4, archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2007.