E-voting is a method of voting via electronic means. Under the e-voting system, polling stations would be equipped with e-voting machines which are also known as Direct-Recording Electronic voting systems (DRE). The voter is required to touch the icon next to the intended party’s symbol on the screen. The action would then be registered on paper and a receipt would be printed. The voter would then drop the receipt into a secured container for storage until the count.1
The Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Act 2001, which allows for Singapore citizens to participate in overseas voting, and the introduction of e-voting in Singapore, was passed by Parliament on 20 April 2001. Various safety measures are specified in the amended Act to ensure total secrecy and security involved in the use of the DRE voting system. Details of the e-voting legislation can be found in Act 19 of 2001.1 This Act was later amended by Act 45 of 2001, as the government decided that there will be no overseas polling for the 2001 General Elections due to security reasons.2 Nevertheless, the amendments on e-voting in Singapore remain valid. The Elections Department has said that e-voting will go on trial in selected constituencies in the 2001 General Election.
Advantages of e-voting
E-voting minimises the risk of ambiguity as the voter’s choice is made via the touch-screen. E-voting could also minimise the need for recounts as everything is tabulated by the computer.4
Disadvantages of e-voting
E-voting may not be as secret and secure as the present paper-ballot system. Failures might occur with an electronic system. Further, there may be minority groups who are uncomfortable to use the system.5
Countries who practise e-voting
In the United States, several states such as Maryland, Arizona, Iowa, New Mexico, Florida, Washington and California have reviewed the options of e-voting. This method of voting has also been implemented in the United Kingdom, Brazil and The Netherlands.6
1. “Next GE Will Feature E-voting,” Straits Times, 22 April 2001, 27. (From NewspaperSG)
2. Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Act 2001, Act 19 of 2001, Singapore Statutes Online.
3. Parliamentary Elections (Temporary Suspension of Overseas Voting) Act 2001, Act 45 of 2001, Singapore Statutes Online.
4. Jack Hee, “Electronic Voting for Singapore?” Straits Times, 27 March 2001, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
5. Hee, “Electronic Voting for Singapore?”
6. Hee, “Electronic Voting for Singapore?”
The information in this article is valid as of 2016 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
Politics and Government