6 Unexpected Events That Happened on Polling Day Which Makes It Even More Exciting

Needless to say, today’s a polling day that’s rather unprecedented.

Other than us having to vote in the midst of a pandemic, it turns out that it’s an eventful day, from long queues to changes to SOP to even an extension of polling hours.

If you’re so apolitical that you’ve spent the entire day sleeping through the day and didn’t even know that the Elections Department has made several media releases in a day, here are six unexpected things that happened on Polling Day, the day that might go down to history as one of the most eventful polling days in Singapore history.

Long Queues Early in the Morning

For the first time, voters were given recommended time bands to head to the polls, with the morning slots given to the seniors.

The goal is to prevent overcrowding since people like to head to the polls in the morning and spend the entire day Netflix-ing.

Unfortunately, that backfired instead.

In the morning, the very thing that ELD aimed to avoid occurred—long queues were spotted in several places.

This led to ELD’s first media release, whereby they said that it was “partly due to the additional safety measures put in place to ensure safe voting.”

They then reiterated that the morning time bands (8am to 12pm) are reserved for senior voters aged 65 years and above to minimise their interaction with younger voters, and urged younger voters who are not accompanying the seniors to vote based on the assigned time-bands, which should be after 12pm.

So you thought that it’s the first and only drama.

Well, it’s the first of the many.

Change in SOP: Don’t Need to Wear Gloves

I don’t know about you, but one of the things I look forward to this polling day is the gloves. We don’t get to wear that often, don’t we?

Reader Bao: Poor gu-

In the later part of the day, the ELD then released another media release, this time apologising for the “longer than usual queues that they have experienced this morning.”

They said that more voters had turned up this morning, which is outside of their time-bands. That, together with the additional safe-management measures, had led to the long queues.

They therefore removed the need to put on gloves “as voters would already be required to sanitise their hands.” According to them, that step had “contributed to the longer than usual voting times.”

Gloves are still available for voters who would like to use both sanitiser and gloves.

As a voter, I’m confused because the entire process felt like a normal polling day, except the need to sansitise my hands before getting my ballot paper. In fact, if not for the masks, I’d have thought that I’ve time-travelled back in 2015.

Maybe it’s just me.

Addressing Fake News About Self-Inking Pens

And before ELD PR team could finally rest easy, they’ve to tackle yet another issue: fake news.

According to them, there were allegations that the self-inking pens, or we should fondly call the chop, didn’t chop properly, which would render the vote valid.

ELD said that is not true, and even ballot papers with more than one “x” or only a faint mark in the same box are still valid.

And once again, speaking as a voter, the “x” is extremely red in my case.

Addressing Another Online Posting

Like I said, it’s an eventful day and a busy day for ELD.

A Facebook user had alleged that a polling agent “who assisted her mother had told her who to vote for.”

That is just…wow.

Image: Tenor

ELD said, “These are serious allegations. All polling agents are confined to a specific area in the polling station to observe the polling process and they are not allowed to assist voters.

“However, for voters who need assistance, our election officials may explain the method of voting to a voter who requests for an explanation. Our election officers are trained to do this audibly, to ensure that polling agents can hear the conversation.”

They then request that the voter reach out to them with the specifics of the incident and they’ll look into the matter.

And slowly, time crawled to 8pm, and you’d have thought their PR team can finally have their nice breakfast which they’ve dabao-ed since 8am.

But no. That breakfast is now reserved for tomorrow.

Extension of Voting Hours to 10pm

Everyone knows voting ends at 8pm—it’s been the same since we were born. But this time, the world’s different and so are the voting hours.

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In a move that would surprise even M. Night Shyamalan, the ELD announced that the Returning Officer has extended the polling hours of polling stations in Singapore except polling stations in SHN designated facilities.

It’ll end at 10pm instead.

As 7pm to 8pm are meant for people on MC or have a fever, the arrangement is that these people can still vote after 8pm if there is no queue in the polling stations. If there are queues, they would be isolated in a separate holding area first and vote only when there is no queue.

Later, ELD said that the “decision to extend polling hours was made because there was still a small number of polling stations with long queues.

“A voter will only be able to vote if he has been issued the ballot paper by close of polls. Given the long queues at these polling stations, to ensure that all voters who had turned up would be able to cast their vote, the RO made the decision to extend polling hours to 10.00 pm.”

So for folks who’ve rushed home, hoping to watch the live broadcast of the results from 8pm—you’d now have to stay awake even longer tonight to know if Singapore is going to remain the same come 11 July 2020.

Higher Turnout Than 2015

So you thought that fewer people are heading to the polls as they’re going to stay at home for the whole of 2020 to avoid the coronavirus.

You’re wrong.

By 8pm, 96% of the registered voter has voted—and remember, they have two more hours, so the percentage is certainly higher.

Back in 2015, the total voter turnout is only 93.56%.

Exciting, isn’t it?

Now, what if you’re one of the 4% (or less) who’ve not headed to the polls today? What would happen to you?

Watch this video and you’ll know (do subscribe to our YouTube channel for more informative videos!):