16 Mar 2008

Channel NewsAsia: Rules relaxed for overseas Singaporeans to register as voters

SINGAPORE: The Elections Department has relaxed several criteria for overseas Singaporeans to register as voters in Singapore, said Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng in Parliament on Wednesday.

Overseas Singaporeans will only need to have stayed at least 30 days in Singapore over a period of three years to qualify for voter registration.

Previously, the rule requires one to have spent two years over a period of five years in Singapore.

And unlike the current rule, overseas voters will no longer be disqualified from voting even if they have had their names entered or retained in the Register of Electors in another country.

The period to register to vote has also been extended for overseas Singaporeans.

Instead of the current 21 days, they can now register online using their SingPass anytime after a notice has been issued by the Elections Department, right up to the day the Writ of Election is issued.

There is also a news polling station for overseas voters. They can now vote in New York City, in addition to Canberra, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, Washington DC and San Francisco.

Singapore conducted its first round of overseas voting during the 2006 General Election.

The National Population Secretariat estimates that about 150,000 Singaporeans are living overseas and the top five destinations are America, Australia, China, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

- CNA/so

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