This is a public interest call for citizens to do a small part in preventing walkovers from occurring in your constituency.
Volunteer to be a proposer, seconder or assentor for an opposition party on Nomination Day.
You do not have to be a member of the party. You do not even have to vote for the party. All you need to be is a registered voter and a concerned citizen that agrees that so-and-so from such-and-such a party ought to be standing in your constituency.
You do this for the simple reason that you do not want a walkover. You want to give your fellow citizens in your constituency a chance to vote.
Proposers, seconders and assentors must be resident (as per your identity card) in the constituency itself. That is why political parties need your help, because they usually have a small membership base without enough people living in your constituency. If they don’t have the requisite number of signatories, their nomination will be rejected and there will be a walkover.
What steps to take?
1. Find out which constituency you are in (check http://www.elections.gov.sg/online.html)
2. Find out which party has expressed interest in your area (check http://newnation.sg/2011/04/ge-battleground/)
3. Contact that party and volunteer to be a proposer, seconder or assentor if they need one.
4. Take the morning off from work on Nomination Day, Wednesday, 27 April 2011. The nomination time window is very tight — only between 11 a.m. and 12 noon. Better to take the whole morning off.
5. Work out in advance with the respective party where you need to go (the nomination centre) and what documents you need to bring along to identify yourself.
The relevant part of the Parliamentary Elections Act is Section 27(2)(b):
Section 27 (2): A person may be nominated to be a candidate for election only by means of a nomination paper in Form 9 in the First Schedule, which shall —
(a) set out the name, identity card number and occupation of the person;
(b) be signed by a proposer and a seconder, and 4 or more persons as assentors, each of whom must be a person whose name appears in the register of electors for the electoral division in which the person seeks election;
(c) contain a statement, signed by that person, to the effect that he consents to the nomination; and
(d) contain a statutory declaration by the person seeking nomination stating that he is qualified to be elected.
Do note that if it is a group representation constituency, each member of the party team needs his own proposer, seconder and at least four assentors. So opposition parties really need lots of volunteers — resident in the respective constituencies — to come forward.
What to expect on Nomination Day? Section 29 of the Parliamentary Elections Act gives you the procedure:
Proceedings on nomination day
29.—(1) The Returning Officer shall, on the day of nomination, attend at the place of nomination from 11 a.m. until 12 noon to receive nomination papers and political donation certificates issued by the Registrar of Political Donations and certificates (if any) issued under section 27A(6) (referred to in this Act as nomination papers).
(2) Every such nomination paper and certificate shall be delivered to the Returning Officer, in duplicate and in person, by the person seeking nomination accompanied by his proposer, seconder and at least 4 assentors, at the place of nomination between 11 a.m. and 12 noon (both times inclusive) on the day of nomination, and if not so delivered, shall be rejected.
(3) The Returning Officer shall immediately cause a copy of the nomination paper to be posted in a conspicuous position outside the place of nomination.
(4) The Returning Officer shall permit the candidates and their proposers, seconders and assentors and one other person (if any) appointed by each candidate in writing to be present on the day and at the place of nomination between 11 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. and there and then to examine the nomination papers of candidates which have been received for that electoral division.
Please do your part to help the democratic process in Singapore.