SINGAPORE: A potential flaw in the electronic registration system during the 2020 General Election has left some Singaporeans puzzled as they discovered their names missing from the Registers of Electors for the upcoming Presidential Election scheduled for 1 September.
These individuals, despite having participated in the 2020 General Election, were alarmed when they did not receive their poll cards, effectively barring them from voting.
Their concerns were raised shortly after the writ for the Presidential Election was issued on 11 August.
In response to the mounting inquiries, the Elections Department (ELD) stated on Thursday that a preliminary investigation revealed that the National Registration Identity Cards (NRICs) of some voters might not have been adequately scanned by the electronic registration devices utilized in the 2020 polling stations. Consequently, their voter attendance data was not captured in the system.
To date, about 200 Singaporeans have inquired with the ELD regarding this issue.
To address such technical oversights in future elections, the ELD has announced that it will deploy electronic registration devices that are more sensitive for this year’s Presidential Election.
The department reassured affected voters, stating, “ELD will be reaching out to Singaporeans who have informed us of this matter and will, upon verification, restore their names to the registers after the election, ensuring their participation in future elections. No further action from them is required.”
ELD highlighted that the first opportunity to verify one’s voting status was on 5 October 2020 when a list of non-voters from the General Election was made public.
Furthermore, in preparation for the 2023 Presidential Election, the Registers of Electors were updated as of 1 June 2023. They were then made available for inspection from 15 June, with the certification completed on 20 July 2023.
ELD reported that between 5 October 2020 and 11 August 2023, 32,807 voters successfully reinstated their names on the registers, allowing them to vote in the upcoming Presidential Election. Notably, the number of reinstated voters is consistent with figures from previous elections.
ELD emphasized that after the issuance of the writ of election on 11 August, the law prohibits any further restoration of names to the registers until the end of Polling Day on 1 September 2023.
The department noted that these registers are the definitive evidence used to determine voter eligibility, necessitating their preservation once the writ is issued.
This means that those whose names have been removed from the registers will be ineligible to vote on 1 September.
Just today, it was reported that over 4,800 households in Tanjong Pagar have received two poll cards for the upcoming presidential election.
ELD stated that the printer, Toppan, mistakenly included test prints of poll cards along with the correct ones, affecting a total of 4,803 households and 9,822 voters in Tanjong Pagar GRC.
Out of these voters, 9,354 individuals received two poll cards with different serial numbers, while 468 voters were issued two poll cards with the same details.
ELD reassured Singaporeans that measures are in place to guarantee that individuals with two poll cards will only be able to vote once at their appropriate polling location.