SINGAPORE -- In an unprecedented turn of events, the Elections Department of Singapore (ELD) has announced that the upcoming 2011 General Election will be held online - on Facebook.
The decision was announced at a press conference this morning by Mr Hu Yu Pik, spokesperson for the ELD. He explained that the process simply requires voters to go to a newly-created Facebook page for their desired party and "Liking" it.
"The party with the most total number of "Likes" on their the page will, then, be elected as the ruling party of Singapore," said Mr Hu. He has also revealed that there will be a poll set up on each party page for voters to note which constituency they are voting from.
When asked about preventing electoral fraud, Mr Hu reassured the press that there will be systems in place to ensure that each person can cast only one vote.
"Voters will have to use their own personal Facebook account with a valid email address which has been registered with the Elections Department," said Mr Hu. "'Liking' a page with a fake Facebook account or an account with an invalid email address will void that vote."
In a press release, the Chairman of the ELD, Mr Am See Kew, explained that there were three main reasons for the change: the inefficiency of the original ballot system, its detrimental impact on the environment, and as a way of engaging the youth in politics. He then stated that only one of the three was correct, and invited journalists to choose the best possible answer.
"Singapore has always prided herself as an advanced, modern society," said Mr Am. "The decision to utilise the Internet in the voting process will catapult Singapore to the frontlines of progress, both technologically and politically."
The announcement, which came just days before polling day, surprised many Singaporeans. Many senior citizens are now worried that they would be unable to cast their vote because of their unfamiliarity with using computers and the Internet.
"I don't even know how to use a computer, how am I supposed to vote online?" asked retiree Mr Simi Tai-Chee, 62, in a mixture of Hokkien and English. "Why, pen and paper not good enough anymore ah? How come this gahmen always change liddat one?"
But many younger voters are exited by the prospect of the easier way to contribute to the country's political landscape.
"I can now vote from the comfort of my home," said Ms Cherilyn Lee, 22. "I think it's really cool that the government is doing this on Facebook."
Singapore has entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the first country to hold its parliamentary elections online.
And as election fever hypes up, we'll be bringing you even more live coverage than ever before. Stay with us.
Oh by the way, I know all about ballot secrecy and all that. I just thought this would be funny(ier).
We'll be right back after these messages,
The Edna Man