What happens if you can't or don't vote in the S'pore Presidential Election 2023 on Sep. 1?

You could be struck off the register of voters.

Belmont Lay | September 01, 2023, 10:57 AM



Polling Day for the 2023 Presidential Election in Singapore has been slated for Friday, Sep. 1.

Polling Day takes place if more than one candidate got nominated on Nomination Day, and hence, an election for the next president can be held and ballots by the citizens need to be cast.

Under the law, Polling Day at any presidential election shall be a public holiday.

For those working on Polling Day, the employer shall allow every elector in his employ a reasonable period of time for voting.

But what happens if you cannot or simply failed to vote?

What happens when you fail to vote?

If you failed to vote in an election in Singapore, your name will be removed from the certified register of electors of the electoral division that you belong to and cannot vote at subsequent presidential and parliamentary elections.

But you may apply to restore your name to the register using your Singpass, according to the Elections Department.

Or you may seek over-the-counter assistance at any community centre/ club or the Elections Department.

A fee of S$50 will be imposed if you do not have a valid reason for not voting.

Early application for restoration of name to the Registers of Electors is strongly encouraged.

No restoration can be made once a writ for an election for the next round of polling is issued.

This effectively means if you have not applied to restore your name by now, you cannot vote for the upcoming Presidential Election if there was one.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued the writ of election for the 2023 Presidential Election on Aug. 11.

Why the forfeit of the right to vote?

According to the ELD, voting is compulsory in Singapore as it is as much a fundamental right of citizenship as it is a civic responsibility to be exercised by citizens to choose and elect their leaders in a democracy.

All Singapore citizens whose names are in the Registers of Electors have to cast their votes on Polling Day.

At the end of the election, the Returning Officer will compile the list of qualified electors who did not vote in the election, known as non-voters, and pass the list to the Registration Officer.

The Registration Officer will then remove their names from the certified register of electors of the electoral divisions that they belong to.

Non-voters are also disqualified from being a candidate at any subsequent presidential or parliamentary election.

Valid reasons for not voting

When applying for restoration of their names to the Registers of Electors, non-voters are to state their reasons for failing to cast their vote at the earlier election.

Some of the acceptable reasons are working overseas (including being on a business trip) at the time of the poll, studying overseas at the time of the poll, living with their spouse who is working or studying overseas, overseas vacation, and illness, or delivering a baby.

What to do if you foresee you cannot vote? Pre-apply.

After Nomination Day, if a qualified elector’s electoral division is contested and he is unable to vote in the election due to unforeseen circumstances, but wishes to vote at future elections, he may pre-apply for his name to be restored to the registers.

This can be done by submitting an application online via the services provided on the ELD website using Singpass or seek over-the-counter assistance at any community centre/ club or the ELD.

Applications for restoration of names received during the election period will only be processed after the list of electors who had failed to vote at the election, also known as the non-voter list, is compiled after the election.

If you can vote, just go ahead

In the event that the qualified elector is later able to vote in the election, he may still proceed to cast his vote at his allotted polling station.

His earlier application to restore his name will be automatically voided.

Top photo via MCI