Elections Department

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The Elections Department on Prinsep Link.

The Elections Department (ELD) is a department of the government of Singapore under the Prime Minister's Office that oversees the procedure for elections in Singapore, including parliamentary elections and presidential elections. It sees that elections are fairly carried out and has a supervisory role to safeguard against electoral fraud. It has the power to create constituencies and redistrict them, with the justification of preventing malapportionment.

Overview[edit]

The elections department was established under the Chief Secretary's Office in 1947 when Singapore was a British Crown Colony. The department was subsequently placed under the Ministry of Home Affairs, followed by the Deputy Prime Minister's Office, and is currently under the Prime Minister's Office.[1]

Presidential and parliamentary elections[edit]

The department is responsible for the preparation and management of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections and any national referendum in Singapore.[1] Although the President of Singapore has the authority to create group representation constituencies (GRC) from several electoral wards, the Elections Department is generally the government authority which advises the President on which constituencies are created, and which constituencies are redistricted.

Political Donations Act[edit]

The ELD has under its purview the Registry of Political Donations (RPD) since 2003. It is responsible for the administration of the Political Donations Act and campaign spending rules. The main objective of RPD is to prevent foreign funding and potential interference in the domestic politics of Singapore.[2]

Others[edit]

Between elections, ELD must ensure that the registers of electors are kept up-to-date. Other responsibilities include the training of election officials, logistical management of election events, informing the public about the electoral system and voting processes and ensuring that all electors have access to the electoral system and voting processes.

The ELF also provides secretariat support to the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee and election committees such as the Presidential Elections Committee and the Community Committee.[1]

Controversy[edit]

The opposition parties in the politics of Singapore question whether there are true, clear separation of powers between the current ruling party of Singapore, the People's Action Party (PAP), and the Elections Department, which is supposed to be a neutral and impartial entity.

Singapore Elections Department is a branch under the Prime Minister's Office. The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee is appointed by the Prime Minister;[3] the committee includes a mix of top civil servants and is chaired by the secretary to the Prime Minister.[4][5] The committee is responsible for the drawing of polling districts and polling sites with pinpoint precision before every election, without the need for Parliamentary approval.[6] Under section 8(1) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, the incumbent Prime Minister may, "from time to time, by notification in the Gazette, specify the names and boundaries of the electoral divisions of Singapore for purposes of elections under this Act".[7]

The absence of an independent electoral commission[8] to manage elections is a subject that has been brought up by many opposition parties.[9][10][11] This, the opposition argues, leads to intentional carrying out of gerrymandering on behalf of the PAP, like in the cases of Cheng San GRC and Eunos GRC being redrawn into other constituencies, or single-member-constituencies such as Joo Chiat SMC being absorbed into bigger GRCs after close electoral fights.[12][13][14] It is unlike an Electoral Commission in most other Commonwealth countries which is clearly independent of the ruling government. The redrawing of GRCs shortly before each election has been mocked on a widespread basis on social media,[15] satirical and socio-political websites,[16] as well as in theatre.[17][18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "About Elections Department". Government of Singapore. Archived from the original on 2017-08-09. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. ^ "Overview of Political Donations Act". Singapore Elections Department. Archived from the original on 2017-08-09. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  3. ^ "Lee Hsien Loong". www.facebook.com. Archived from the original on 2017-10-27. Retrieved 2017-08-28. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  4. ^ "Electoral integrity a hot topic". Archived from the original on 2017-08-26. Retrieved 2017-08-26. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  5. ^ "Electoral Boundaries Review Committee convened, PM Lee tells Parliament". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 2017-08-28. Retrieved 2017-08-28. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  6. ^ Tan, Netina (2013-12-01). "Manipulating electoral laws in Singapore". Electoral Studies. Special Symposium: The new research agenda on electoral integrity. 32 (4): 632–643. doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2013.07.014.
  7. ^ "Parliamentary Elections Act (Chapter 218)". Singapore Statutes Online. Archived from the original on 2017-08-26. Retrieved 2017-08-26. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ Yeo, Lay Hwee (2002). "Electoral Politics in Singapore" (PDF). Electoral Politics in Southeast and East Asia. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2007-03-06. Retrieved 2017-08-25. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  9. ^ "Redrawing of electoral boundaries 'senseless': Workers' Party". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 2017-08-25. Retrieved 2017-08-25. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  10. ^ Burton, John (2006-05-03). "Inequality is centre stage in Singapore's election". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 2017-08-25.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Diplomat, Sally Andrews, The. "'Soft' Repression: The Struggle for Democracy in Singapore". The Diplomat. Archived from the original on 2017-08-25. Retrieved 2017-08-25. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  12. ^ Chew, Hui Min (2015-07-24). "Electoral boundaries report 2015: PAP and opposition politicians react to changes". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2017-08-25. Retrieved 2017-08-25. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  13. ^ Tan, Netina; Grofman, Bernard (2016). "The Electoral Authoritarian's Subtle Toolkit: Evidence from Singapore" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-08-25. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  14. ^ Ng, Boon Yian (18 October 2001). "Rise of Super GRCs?". Today. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-27. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  15. ^ Wong, Tessa (2015-09-08). "Singapore's elections explained in memes". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2017-08-25. Retrieved 2017-08-25. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  16. ^ "S'poreans accept GE2015 gerrymandering changes to electoral boundaries". New Nation. Archived from the original on 2017-08-26. Retrieved 2017-08-26. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  17. ^ Tan, Dylan. "Political satire with more than just laughs". The Business Times. Archived from the original on 2017-08-26. Retrieved 2017-08-26. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  18. ^ "Loving Singapore, faults and all". AsiaOne. Archived from the original on 2017-08-26. Retrieved 2017-08-26. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)

External links[edit]