“Your vote is secret”: Voting and ballot secrecy (Part II).

I voted for Obama!

Pursuant (LOL) to my previous post on voting and ballot secrecy, I will now explain what the phrase “Your vote is secret” means:

Common misinterpretation (or myth)

  • Statement: You cannot tell anyone how you voted or how you intend to vote, because that’s a secret.
  • Response: WRONG! Your vote/voting intention is only a secret if you want it to be a secret from everyone else.

Correct interpretation

    Your physical vote is secret i.e. after you slot your voting slip into the ballot box, it will not be traced back to you.

    Please refer to this post to find out why.

So you can tell people how you voted/how you intend to vote. There’s no law which mandates that you keep your vote/voting intention a secret.

In fact, you should discuss your voting inclination as often as you can.

Discussions of voting decisions, processes, etc. are always healthy and fruitful – so long as these discussions are conducted in a healthy manner, of course, with healthy people who are willing to listen to you, as opposed to, say, antagonising/intimidating/irritating/pooh-poohing you.

In any case, to prove my point about voting secrecy:

I stated yesterday that my vote would be going to Tan Jee Say, right?

But for all we know, I could’ve voted for Tan Cheng Bock… right?

The only way to confirm how I actually voted would be to:

  1. Obtain a court order to open up the ballot boxes (and – mind you – there needs to be a good reason for this),
  2. Trace my polling card number to the voting slip number, then
  3. Find the correct voting slip hidden among the hundreds of voting slips in the ballot box.

Who is going to go to all that trouble???

P.S. Just to clarify, I did eventually vote for Tan Jee Say.

I don’t agree with everything he says.

However, his campaign statements about the Presidency are not only most closely aligned to my own values as a human being, but also most closely aligned to what I want in my President.

Moreover, Agagooga a.k.a. Gabriel Seah made a very insightful comment on Twitter about this matter:

One should vote holistically. If I had to agree with everything a party/candidate said I’d spoil my vote.

About the author

Laremy Lee

A versatile educator, writer and editor, Laremy Lee (李庭辉) has the uncanny knack of being one of the few among his generation in Singapore who crafts compelling stories in different genres.

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