GE2020: Want Your Vote Counted? Here's What You Shouldn't Do
It's better to be safe than sorry—always use a cross to indicate your vote to make it count!
If you’re a first-timer voter, check out our first-timer’s guide to get up to speed on what you need to know.
But it’s also important to get acquainted with what not to do, as highlighted in a recent Facebook post.
The post referenced diagrams from the blog Yawning Bread, where blogger Alex Au shared his experience as a counting agent in the 2011 election.
For those who may not be aware, counting agents do not actually count votes. Instead, they are free to move about to look over the shoulders of the counting staff. They are also not allowed to speak to the staff, nor touch the ballot papers.
Ballot papers with unusual markings will be passed to the table chief, who will then show it to a counting agent from each party and announce his decision as to how to treat the ballot. Counting agents can offer their views, but the table chief will make the final decision.
Here are some of the different ballots that Au came across during his stint as a counting agent.
Cross or tick?
Voters should mark a cross on their ballot papers, but ticks may also be acceptable depending on the table chief and as long as the rest of the ballot paper is clean.
According to the Election Department’s (ELD) guide for counting agents in this election, a ballot paper marked with anything other than a cross will not be treated as void if the intention of the voter is clear.
Crossing the boundary line, multiple markings and other don’ts
If you want your vote counted, ensure that your markings do not cross the boundary line. Table chiefs routinely rejected ballots such as those as shown in examples three, 15 and 16. Also, do not make more than one marking, as seen in example four. Ballot papers where votes appear to be given for more than one candidate may be rejected.
Does size matter? The short answer is no. As long as it is a clear marking within the designated area, such as example 13, it is a valid vote.
In example 14 where there is a question mark and a cross, the validity of the vote depends on the table chief.
ELD rules state that ballots with more than one marking will not be treated as void if the voter’s intention is clear.
Au said while another table chief judged that the voter’s intention was clear, his table chief would have deemed it invalid due to it having two markings.
Valid votes? Not anymore
According to Au, all of the examples below were accepted as valid votes in 2011 as they featured only one marking that did not cross the boundary line.
However, in 2018, the Parliamentary Elections Act was amended to disregard any mark on the ballot paper that is not made within the area demarcated on the ballot paper for the voter to mark his vote. It is therefore likely that most of the examples below would not be accepted in the upcoming election.
In conclusion, these are good examples of how not to vote. While some of them may have been accepted in the past, the rules have changed since then.
Voters should refrain from writing anything on their ballot paper, using strange markings or marking outside of the box. If so, the vote may be deemed spoilt and invalid.
If you want your vote counted then it’s better to be safe than sorry — always use a cross to indicate your vote to make it count!