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    Aug 21, 2015

    Candidates' spending limit raised

    THE maximum spending limit will be raised from $3.50 to $4 for every elector on the register of electors for an electoral division, said the Elections Department (ELD) yesterday.

    Candidates' photos will also be on ballot papers in the upcoming polls.

    These and several other changes will be made to the election processes ahead of the upcoming general election, widely expected to be held next month.

    The raised spending limit accounts for inflation, said the ELD in a statement.

    The law imposes a ceiling on a candidate's election expenses to ensure a level playing field. Spending in excess of the maximum amount is illegal, the ELD added.

    As for the candidates' photos, their inclusion will make it easier for voters, especially seniors, to identify the candidates they wish to vote for.

    "The new ballot papers will be larger to accommodate the photos," it said, adding that candidates' photos on the ballot papers were introduced for the first time at the 2011 Presidential Election. This garnered "generally positive public feedback", the ELD said.

    Other changes to the format of the ballot paper include white boxes against a darkened background, and wider gaps between the boxes to mark "X" to prevent voters from marking across boxes of different rows.

    More details will be known closer to Polling Day.

    In another change, the ELD published on its website in advance the formulae to compute the maximum number of posters and banners for each electoral division.

    A maximum number of posters and banners that can be displayed is set for each candidate or group of candidates contesting in an electoral division.

    In past elections, candidates were provided this maximum number after the close of nomination proceedings on Nomination Day.

    Candidates can also place their posters and banners closer to polling stations.

    They are not allowed to display posters and banners within a designated radius from a polling station, to minimise undue influence on voters, but this radius has been reduced from 200m to 50m.

    The ELD also announced the members of the Malay Community Committee and Indian and Other Minority Communities Committee.

    Every group of persons which wishes to stand for parliamentary election in a Group Representation Constituency is required to have at least one candidate belonging to either the Malay community, or the Indian and other minority communities.

    The group must produce a Certificate of the Malay Community Committee or Certificate of the Indian and Other Minority Communities Committee to the Returning Officer on Nomination Day.

    To be issued the certificate, a person must apply to the appropriate committees by submitting hard copies of the completed forms to the ELD.