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    Sep 03, 2015

    Sample vote counts to be made public

    ON SEPT 11, Singaporeans will, for the first time, get an official indication of how votes in a constituency were cast at the General Election (GE), even before the full counts are completed.

    The Elections Department (ELD) said yesterday that it will make public the results of sample counts for each of the 16 group representation constituencies and 13 single-member constituencies soon after polling stations close at 8pm on Polling Day, Sept 11.

    This means voters will get a rough idea of the results - except for those in close contests - from around 10pm, instead of having to wait past midnight, as in previous elections.

    The release of these results - which are fairly indicative of the final percentages - aims to prevent speculation or misinformation from unofficial sources while counting is under way, ELD said in a poster released yesterday.

    The random sample count also helps election officials to check against the final election result for that GRC or SMC.

    But because it is a sample - and especially in constituencies where the results are close - the election result could be different.

    The public should still wait for the Returning Officer's announcement to know the final election result, ELD added.

    The Straits Times understands that sample counts have a confidence level of 95 per cent, plus or minus 4 percentage points.

    This GE will be the first time sample counts will be made public. Such counts were done in previous general elections as an internal check.

    Voters can also expect two other changes. First, a new ballot paper design bearing the photographs of the candidates will be used. It will have white boxes against a blackened background, and wider gaps between the boxes so as to prevent voters from marking across boxes in different rows.

    Second, the ELD is taking steps to make it easier for the elderly, physically disabled and visually impaired to vote.

    Polling station sites have been chosen based on factors such as safety, security and accessibility, with most at void decks and precinct pavilions.

    There will be special drop-off points near the voting areas for vehicles conveying elderly voters or the physically disabled. A priority queue will be set up for these voters at the polling stations.

    Wheelchairs will also be provided for those who need them, and polling booths will be equipped with a lower deck for these voters to mark their vote more easily.

    For the visually impaired, stencils will be provided so that they can mark the ballot paper themselves.