SINGAPORE: The alternative political party, Red Dot United (RDU), has expressed deep concerns in light of recent disclosures from the Election Department (ELD) concerning inconsistencies within the electoral process.
In response to the issuance of additional poll cards and the admission of potential errors in the National Registration Identification Card (NRIC) scanning during the 2020 General Election, RDU has called for a comprehensive investigation to ensure the integrity of Singapore’s democratic voting system.
On Thursday (24 Aug), the ELD publicly apologized for an incident 9,822 voters in Tanjong Pagar GRC received 2 poll cards due to printing error.
Additionally, the ELD admitted a lapse within the electronic system during the 2020 General Election, resulting in the exclusion of certain Singaporeans from the upcoming Presidential vote.
In a statement issued on Saturday, RDU underscored the significance of these process failures, asserting their potential to undermine the credibility of Singapore’s electoral procedures.
The party denounced the insufficiency of causal explanations, emphasizing that the ELD’s responsibility extends beyond the mere execution of a steadfast and rigorous democratic voting process; it also carries a clear obligation to provide transparent explanations for any identified shortcomings.
“ELD has to give a proper account as to why 200 voters, through no fault of theirs, cannot be added to the register immediately rather than being required to sit out the Presidential Election,” said Ravi Philemon, secretary-general of RDU.
RDU’s demand for immediate action by the ELD involves an exhaustive investigation, aimed at unveiling the factors and circumstances that contributed to these process failures.
The progress, processes and outcome of such an investigation should be made public, so that the voters can be assured that these were isolated incidents.
However, should the investigation uncover systemic lapses, RDU advocates for a robust public examination of the ELD’s procedures.
Pertinent questions raised by the party include:
- Why does the default practice not include checking the electronic system against the manual system, since both records were captured at every election?
- How the process flow could be so vulnerable as to have significant failures only being discovered by citizens themselves?
- How ELD justifies infringing upon the sovereign right of 200 citizens to choose their head of state due to a process failure under its watch?
In the event that the ELD’s investigation does not restore public trust, RDU supports the initiation of an independent inquiry. Such an inquiry would scrutinize the ELD’s entire functioning to identify the root causes of any systemic deficiencies.
“Singaporeans need to be able to understand how these failures occurred and whether it is a case of human error, technological error, or a combination of both. An investigation or inquiry facilitates such understanding and enables the system and accompanying processes to be strengthened. ”
Acknowledging that failures are inherent in any system, RDU recognizes the paramount importance of the electoral process in a democracy. The party asserts that the election of political officeholders is a foundational pillar, too significant to be addressed superficially.
“As it stands, the statements from the ELD unearth more questions than answers and have created unnecessary anxiety among voters. ”
“On the basis of this reality, RDU – on behalf of the People of Singapore – demands that these failures be handled with the seriousness that this situation deserves and hopes that the ELD will demonstrate its commitment to upholding the sanctity of the democratic election process through a robust investigation conducted with transparency.”
Singaporeans to cast their vote on 1 September
The Elections Department of Singapore (ELD) is a department under the Prime Minister’s Office.
It has the responsibility of preparing for and managing the conduct of Presidential and Parliamentary elections and any national referendum in Singapore.
The Singapore Presidential Election 2023’s Polling Day is set for 1 September, designated a public holiday by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
There are a total of 2,709,455 eligible voters in the updated voter rolls – an increase of over 55,000 people from the 2,653,942 electors in GE2020.
Singaporeans will be voting to elect their ninth president from three candidates: the former GIC investment chief, Mr Ng Kok Song (75); former People’s Action Party senior minister, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam (66); and the former NTUC Income chief, Mr Tan Kin Lian (75).