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GE 2020: Proposed Bill Allows S'poreans To Vote Outside Of Electoral Divisions Amid COVID-19

Speculations are rife that the next general election will take place very soon, and it is very likely that it will take place amid this Covid-19 outbreak.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing proposed in Parliament today (April 7) some new measures as part of the Parliamentary Elections (COVID-19 Special Arrangements) Bill.

The purpose of the Bill is meant to facilitate the temporary arrangements necessary for holding a safe general election while Covid-19 measures are in effect. It will also allow special steps to be taken in the interest of public health during polls and vote counting.

Under the proposed law, if the general election were to be held during the Covid-19 outbreak, voters subject to restrictions like stay-home orders will be allowed to vote outside their electoral divisions (ie. the designated facilities where they are serving out the orders).

This ensures that they will not mingle with other voters at the polling stations.

Aspiring candidates who are ill would also be allowed to register on Nomination Day without being there in person, and instead nominate a representative to help them file their nomination.

Under current laws, candidates have to file nomination papers in person.

Bill Is “Not Related To The Timing Of The GE”

The Elections Department (ELD) stressed that this Bill is simply part of its contingency planning for the next General Election.

“It is not related to the timing of the GE.”

“The Prime Minister will decide when to call the election, taking into account the challenges confronting our country, including the evolving Covid-19 situation.”

The ELD also  said in a statement that the provisions in the Bill are temporary arrangements that will only apply to the next General Election, and not to any election held after the stipulated date.

The Bill will be debated at the next available Parliament sitting, which is expected to take place next month.

If approved by Parliament, it will take effect before the next general election, which has to be held by April 14 next year.

Featured Image Credit: Redwire Singapore

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