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Singapore votes, with 2.46 million at the polls
AS many as 2.46 million voters will fan out across the island on Friday to elect the 89 members of Singapore's 13th Parliament.
The nine raucous days of campaigning was followed by a 24-hour cooling-off period on Thursday, and now all that's left is for citizens to head to one of 832 polling centres to cast their vote.
The polls will stay open for 12 hours, from 8am to 8pm, although some of the 4,868 eligible Singaporean voters abroad were able to do their duty as early as Thursday.
Of the 10 overseas polling stations for this general election (GE), five - in Dubai, London, Washington, New York and San Francisco - were open a day before Polling Day.
Once the votes have been tallied, all eyes will be on Energy Market Authority chief executive Ng Wai Choong, the GE's Returning Officer, who will announce the winners and losers for each of the 29 constituencies.
Even as the nation awaits the news of the election scores, the Elections Department will first reveal "sample count" results for each of the 16 group representation constituencies and 13 single-seat wards.
One reason for this move is to prevent unnecessary speculation and reliance on unofficial sources of information before all the votes are tallied and the final results are announced.
The numbers are said to be fairly indicative of the possible outcome for a constituency. Sample counts typically have a confidence level of 95 per cent, plus or minus four percentage points.
A hundred ballot papers from each polling stations will be randomly chosen by a counting assistant in the presence of the candidates and their counting agents.
The votes will be added up and weighted accordingly to account for the difference in the number of votes cast at each polling station. The sample count for each constituency will be shown as a percentage of the valid votes earned by the candidates.
As there are fewer voters in single-seat wards, the sample count results for these constituencies will probably be released first, from around 10pm.
There is also the possibility of a recount of votes in some cases.
This could be allowed if the difference in votes between two candidates is 2 per cent or less of the total number of valid votes cast.
At the last GE back in May 2011, residents in Potong Pasir were kept waiting late into the night after a recount was declared.
The People's Action Party's (PAP) Sitoh Yih Pin, on what was his third attempt to win the single seat, eventually scraped past his challenger, Lina Chiam of the Singapore People's Party, by a margin of just 114 votes, or 0.7 per cent.
Meanwhile, the police have issued permits for four assembly centres where candidates, their supporters and the public can gather from 8pm to wait for the results.
The PAP has three centres - Jurong West Stadium, Bedok Stadium and Toa Payoh Stadium.
The opposition Workers' Party (WP) has one venue, which is Hougang Stadium.
The PAP and the WP are among the political parties expected to hold a press conference in the wee hours of Saturday morning, shortly after the announcement of the final result.
READ MORE: 7 parties make last push
Saturday’s BT will be delivered late in order to bring you the latest updates on the General Election. Follow our coverage online at bt.sg/ge_15