The Importance of Polling Agents and Counting Agents

Author: Shirin Rafie
Published:

This article is part of New Naratif’s coverage of the Singapore General Election 2020. For more, please visit our Singapore General Election 2020 portal.

Singapore’s electoral system requires a minimum of nearly 12,000 citizen volunteers, representing the various political parties, in order to scrutinise the voting and counting process, guarantee voter secrecy, and protect the integrity of the vote. It doesn’t matter which party you represent. Volunteer today! Your only requirements are that a) you are a Singapore Citizen; b) you are not an undischarged bankrupt; and c) you have no pending criminal case against you.

Links to some political parties’ volunteer sign-up pages (not an exhaustive list):

Important Note: The following comic was written and drawn months ago before the ongoing novel coronavirus crisis. Elections cannot function properly without citizen volunteers, and in publishing this comic, we wanted to urge citizens to volunteer to help ensure a fair and honest election. But we cannot in good conscience ask citizens to serve as Polling Agents or Counting Agents if the next Singapore General Election is, as expected, held during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. We cannot ask over 10,000 people to risk their lives by standing in polling stations while millions of voters, some of whom will inevitably be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus, walk through the polling centres.

The fact is that it is impossible to hold an election without a group of people in each polling station clustered together to ensure the elections are well run. This includes presiding officers, clerks, interpreters, and other election officials (who are often teachers and civil servants); security; and of course citizen volunteers. Tens of thousands of Singaporeans – our friends and our families – are going to be placed at risk because of this election. We urge the Prime Minister of Singapore to unequivocally rule out holding elections during this crisis and not put lives at risk. – New Naratif

 

Volunteer as a polling or counting agent - it's your civic duty!
Another day in the life of polling agents
How many polling agents do we need?
9996 polling agents have to be recruited!

 

Like polling agents, counting agents represent the candidate at the counting centre
Can you determine voter intention in these ballots?
It's possible to make mistakes during the counting of ballots
Counting Agents can raise a protest if they feel there has been a mistake

If only one party had polling agents and counting agents representing them, this could lead to an unfair outcome!
It's our duty as citizens to take part in the electoral process and ensure we have fair and honest elections!

Shirin Rafie

Shirin is a freelance illustrator based in Singapore reading comic books at home with her cat. On other days, she spends her time creating vibrant artworks of various interests from her travels and entertainment media. You can find her on Instagram @drawmonsterdraw

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