Though I have a strong feeling that I would not get to vote AT ALL, I think I should still do my homework for the upcoming elections. Btw, anyone knows when will it be held? Anytime soon?
Where else is the best place to know more about such matters than the Elections Department Singapore website. So I happily went on to the website to see what information they provide. (they do provide a lot of very useful information.)
First thing I'm interested in is what GRC stands for. Yes, I've been using the word pretty often but I don't know what does it stand for exactly. So now I know, GRC stands for Group Representation Constituencies and SMC stands for Single Member Constituencies.
According to the website, the GRC system was established in 1988 to ensure that the minority racial communities in Singapore will always be represented in Parliament. To ensure this, the Parliamentary Elections Act requires that at least one-quarter of the total number of MPs must be representatives of GRCs. There is currently 14 GRCs with 75 MPs.
So how does the GRC system ensure that the minority racial communities are being represented in Parliment? During elections, the residents in the GRC would vote for a group of individuals to be their MPs. The group may be made up of 3, 4, 5 or 6 individuals and the President declares the group number for each GRC by law. Inside each group, at least one must be of a minority race.
How is the Singapore pie divided up then?
Hong Kah seems huge!! But Sembawang GRC (the one I'm in) is the largest, with 183,883 electors voting for 6 MPs :)
The GRC system came out to make sure the minority are represented, but one can't help but wonder if gerrymandering is taking place. That's a new word I've learnt and there's a very interesting history to it. Click on the word to check it out :)
The next issue I'm concerned about is the numbering of the ballot paper and thus the ability for whoever's in power to trace who voted for which party.
Once again, the website gave the rationale for the numbering of the ballot paper which I found to be very reasonable.
The rationale is simple, it is in place to prevent against frudalent votes. That's reasonable, and only in the case where someone can prove that there's fraudulently casted votes and the result of the election may be affected as a result, can the ballot paper be taken out for investigation. And so far, the court had not issued any such order since 1948. So I guess I feel pretty safe about the secrecy of my vote.
In regards to secrecy, I'm not really worried, if they know then they know lor, it does not really matter to me. I'm not in civil service anyway and I've given up hopes of dabbling in politics a long time ago. Besides, it might be good that the ruling party finds out who had not voted for them. If they could take it as a signal to sit down and listen to why we voted for the other party, I think it will be great news.
Voting is a very serious issue, when someone makes a decision to vote for a party, they must have a valid reason to do so. So having the ruling party know about the people who did not vote for them, they could start finding out exactly where the other party did right and won the vote of these people. Feedback is very important and they should take this as a positive feedback to learn more about the people they serve.
That's all for part 1, I'm kinda boring myself here :Þ
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