This article was originally published on 11 September 2015 for GE2015 and has been updated on 10 July 2020 to provide more information for GE2020
For only the second time in Singapore’s history, sample votes will be revealed by the Elections Department to the public even before the final results are tabulated. This means, from 10 pm or earlier, Singaporeans will start receiving early indications of how the results are faring based on sample size.
How Is The Sample Vote Taken?
Very simply, at each polling station, a counting assistant will randomly pick a bundle of 100 ballot papers and count the number of votes for each candidate(s).
Since each polling station will have a different number of total ballot votes, different weightage will be assigned to each station to account for the difference in votes cast.
For example, if there is a total of 100,000 votes cast in a GRC and a certain polling station in the constituency has 3,000 votes, the weightage given to that station will be 3%. The various polling stations across the constituency will each have their weighted scores tabulated and added together.
How Accurate Will The Sample Count Be?
The sample counts are “fairly indicative of the final percentages” with a confidence level of about 95%, plus or minus 4% points.
What this means is that there is a 95 percent chance that the actual election results will be within a 4% margin of the sample count. It implies that any indicative results announced that falls between the 46% to 54% range are far from a done deal since there is a 4 percent margin in error.
For example, and statistically speaking, candidates who win 60% of their sample votes have a 95% assurance that the final result will win between 56% to 64%. Candidates that win 52% of the sample votes have a 95% probability of accumulating between 48% and 56% of the votes cast, so it would be fair to say that the contest is far from over. Likewise, a candidate winning 46% of the sample vote may still have a chance, statistically speaking, to win the actual vote.
According to a Mothership article, in GE2015, sample vote counts in all constituencies except MacPherson came with 2 percentage points of the official results, below the 4% margin of error. This is an indicator that the sample vote count is going to be a good proxy for the actual results. For MacPherson, it was 2.58%.
It’s worth noting that for constituencies with a very close fight, the sample vote count will not be a good proxy for the actual result.
It’s worth noting that in GE2015, only two constituencies had a winning margin of less than 4% (i.e. result may not be accurately predicted by the sample votes). These were Aljunied GRC (won by WP at 50.96%) and Punggol East (won by PAP at 51.77%). Aljunied GRC did a recount since the winning percentage was lower than 2%.
Automatic Recount If Winning Margin Is Less Than 2%
For GE2020, there will be an automatic recount if the winning margin is less than 2%. This is a change as compared to GE2015, where the candidate(s) have the option for a recount if the margin is less than 2%.
For example, in GE2015, because the winning margin of the vote for Aljunied GRC was less than 2%, the PAP candidates requested a recount of votes (this indicated that they lost the first count). As such, a recount was ordered by the Election Department. Subsequently, the WP still won the vote with the final count being 50.96% (WP) and 49.04% (PAP).
In GE2020, a recount will be automatic as long as the winning margin is less than 2%. Losing candidate(s) do not need to request for it.
For those who will need to get up earlier the next day, the sample count will allow you to get an early indication of the results. For the rest of us, we will only know when the results are finally announced. However, if a recount is needed, be prepared for a late-night if you want to wait for the actual results.
GE2020 Sample Vote Results
Kebun Baru – PAP 68%: PSP 32%
Hong Kah North – PAP 63%: PSP 37%
Potong Pasir – PAP 61%: SPP 39%
Marine Parade – PAP 57%: WP 43%
Bukit Batok – PAP 57%: SDP 43%
Marymount – PAP 54%: PSP 46%
Pioneer – PAP 66%: PSP 32%: INDEPENDENT: 2%
Radin Mas – PAP 76%: RP 24%
Yio Chu Kang – PAP 61%: PSP 39%
Punggol West – PAP 65%: WP 35%
Bukit Panjang – PAP 56%: SDP 44%
Nee Soon – PAP 61%: PSP 39%
Sembawang – PAP 69%: NSP 31%
Jurong – PAP 75%: RDU 25%
Hougang – WP 58%: PAP 42%
East Coast – PAP 54%: WP 46%
Chua Chu Kang – PAP 59%: PSP 41%
Marsiling-Yew Tee – PAP 64%: SDP 36%
Macpherson – PAP 73%: PPP 27%
Mountbatten – PAP 75%: PV 25%
Aljunied – WP 60%: PAP 40%
Tampines – PAP 67%: NSP 33%
Pasir Ris Punggol – PAP 63%: SDA 25%: PV 12%
Sengkang – WP 53%: PAP 47%
West Coast – PAP 52%: PSP 48%
Tanjong Pagar – PAP 63%: PSP 37%
Bishan-Toa Payoh – PAP 67%: SPP 33%
Yuhan – PAP 69%: SDP 31%
Jalan Besar – PAP 67%: PV 33%
Holland-Bukit Timah – PAP 68%: SDP 32%
Ang Mo Kio – PAP 72%: RP 28%
GE2020 Final Results
Ang Mo Kio GRC – PAP 71.91%: RP 28.09%
Aljunied GRC – WP 59.93%: PAP 40.07%
Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC – PAP 67.25%: SPP 32.74%
Bukit Batok SMC – PAP 54.80%: SDP 45.20%
Bukit Panjang SMC – PAP 53.74%: SDP 46.26%
Chua Chu Kang GRC – PAP 58.64%: PSP 41.36%
East Coast GRC – PAP 53.41%: WP 46.59%
Hong Kah SMC – PAP 60.98%: PSP 39.02%
Holland-Bukit Timah – PAP 66.36%: SDP 33.64%
Hougang SMC – WP 61.19%: PAP 38.81%
Jalan Besar GRC – PAP 65.37%: PV 34.63%
Jurong GRC – PAP 74.62%: SPP 25.38%
Kebun Baru SMC – PAP 62.97%: PSP 37.03%
Mountbatten SMC – PAP 73.84%: PV 26.16%
Macpherson SMC – PAP 71.74%: PPP 28.26%
Marymount SMC – PAP 55.04%: PSP 44.96%
Marine Parade GRC – PAP 57.76%: WP 42.24%
Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC – PAP 63.18%: SDP 36.82%
Nee Soon GRC – PAP 61.90%: PSP 38.10%
Pioneer SMC – PAP 61.98%: PSP 35.24%; Independent: 2.78% (lose election deposit)
Potong Pasir SMC – PAP 60.69% : SPP 39.31%
Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC – PAP 64.15%: SDA 23.67%: PV 12.18% (lose election deposit)
Radin Mas SMC – PAP 74.03%: RP 25.97%
Punggol West SMC – PAP 60.97%: WP 39.03%
Sengkang GRC – WP 52.13%: PAP 47.87%
Sembawang GRC – PAP 67.29%: NSP 32.71%
Tampines GRC – PAP 66.41%: NSP 33.59%
Tanjong Pagar GRC – PAP 63.13%: PSP 36.87%
West Coast GRC – PAP 51.69%: PSP 48.31%
Yuhua SMC – PAP 70.54%: SDP 29.46%
Yio Chu Kang SMC – PAP 60.83%: PSP 39.17%
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