To facilitate the 2020 Parliamentary General Election held on 10 July 2020, both public and private buses were used to transport ballot papers around the island.
In Singapore, public buses have historically been used to transport ballot boxes. Buses are spacious enough to accommodate ballot boxes, their accompanying election officials, and police officers that escort the ballot boxes during transport. Since the 2015 General Election, candidates or their polling agents are also allowed to accompany the transport of ballot boxes.
Ballot boxes were formerly made of wood or metal. Since the 1997 General Election, cardboard boxes have been used, and are wrapped in a large plastic bag during transport.
Two main types of trips are carried out by ballot box transport buses:
Delivery of sealed ballot boxes from polling stations to counting centres
Delivery of depository boxes from counting centres to the Supreme Court
During an election, the counting of votes takes place immediately after polling ends, and is held at designated counting centres. The process of vote counting is decentralised for efficiency; there were 163 counting centres throughout Singapore during the 2015 General Election. For counting centres located in the same place as polling stations, buses are not required for the journey.
After counting of votes, ballot papers are sealed in depository boxes and transported to the Supreme Court vault, where they would be kept for six months before being incinerated.
The logistics of ballot box transport are coordinated by the Elections Department, the Government department that oversees the procedure for elections in Singapore.