GE2020: Opposition parties outraged by last-minute extension to voting hours to 10pm

Vernon Lee
·Senior Editor
·2-min read
People streaming in bright and early to vote at Dunearn Secondary School on 10 July, 2020, to cast their votes.  (PHOTO: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore)
People streaming in bright and early to vote at Dunearn Secondary School on 10 July 2020, to cast their votes. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Several opposition parties have expressed outrage against the last-minute decision by the Elections Department (ELD) to extend voting hours for the General Election (GE) from 8pm to 10pm.

The extension of the voting hours was the first ever in Singapore’s electoral history. Voting closed as scheduled at 10pm.

The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) said the unprecedented last-minute extension of polling hours was “highly irregular” and can compromise the integrity of the voting process.

“To announce an extension just 90 minutes before polls are to close highlights the arbitrary and last minute decision making. It is obviously done with little thought about implications and consequences,” the PSP added in a statement.

The ELD’s decision was a result of “bad planning and the incessant urge” to rush the GE during the COVID-19 period and undermined the legitimacy of Singapore’s democracy, the PSP said.

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) also called the move “highly irregular”. Some of the SDP’s polling agents had to leave since they understood voting would end at 8pm, the party said. With the extension, it left some of the polling stations unattended during the sealing of ballot boxes and may “render the results questionable”.

Both the SDP and PSP had called on the authorities to adhere to the 8pm cut off timing.

People’s Power Party chief Goh Meng Seng, who is contesting MacPherson SMC, slammed the “irregularities” and demanded answers from the ELD.

Peoples Voice party chief Lim Tean, who is leading his party’s team in Jalan Besar GRC, called the ELD move “outrageous and totally out of order”. The candidate for Jalan Besar GRC said PV reserved the right to challenge the decision.

Yahoo News Singapore has reached out to the Workers’ Party for comment about the ELD’s decision.

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