MARUAH embarks on election monitoring project

MARUAH (Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, Singapore) is embarking on an election monitoring project for the 2011 General Elections.

Election monitoring involves observation of election processes by independent groups to ensure that the conduct of an election is free and fair, based on both national legislation and international norms.

In the 1990s, UN and EU observers focused on elections in countries with weak democracies or democracies in transition. But in recent years countries with long-standing reputations as developed democracies, e.g. France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States – have also availed themselves to internal processes of scrutiny, as run by their NGOs and other International NGOs.

For us at MARUAH, as a human rights NGO, we want a free and fair election with an informed electorate participating in the process. Singapore has a good reputation for conducting its election process well. We have systems and processes that ensure scrutiny by both parties – the incumbents and the contenders.

Due to limited resource, we will focus on the administration of the election process (polling and counting). By conducting this exercise we are not saying that the administration is deficient. In fact what we are trying to ascertain, with the help of the electorate, is that we do have a good process administratively on Polling Day.

Also, the mainstream media has received its fair share of criticisms when it comes to election coverage with a commonly-held view that they are pro-PAP. In this case a monitoring of the media will show how the media covers election stories.

The aims of MARUAH’s Election Monitoring Process are:-

– To raise awareness among the voters on the processes in the polling station and counting centres

– To call upon the voters to become their own custodians of fair election processes

– To ascertain that we indeed have good administrative processes in these two areas of polling and counting of ballots

– To ascertain the level of objectivity displayed in the mainstream media with regard to the elections

– To build up a community of monitoring enthusiasts

Approach

Polling – we will conduct an e-survey and we need as many voters as possible to send us back their forms which are in a ‘tick-the boxes’ approach – quantitative. We will also conduct a street poll among voters. The survey form link will be uploaded on the MARUAH website, so that voters will know what to look out for when they are in the polling centre.

Counting – we will conduct a survey that we hope counting agents from all political parties will participate and send us back their responses.

A quick analysis will be done with the returned forms and we will share the findings within three days of Polling Day.

Media – we will be analysing the media and releasing the results preferably on a daily basis.

MARUAH requires volunteers to assist in this project. Interested individuals are encouraged to email maruahsg@gmail.com if they would like to be involved.

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