SINGAPORE: The Elections Department (ELD) is taking proactive measures to prevent printing errors on poll cards, following an incident where nearly 10,000 voters received two poll cards each during the recent Presidential Election.
Minister-in-charge of the Public Service, Chan Chun Sing, announced this development on Monday (18 Sept).
On 24 August, ELD in a statement revealed that Due to an error by the appointed printer, over 4,800 households in Tanjong Pagar have received two poll cards for the 2023 presidential election that was set to poll on 1 September.
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.
The impacted voters are designated to cast their votes at polling stations within Tanjong Pagar GRC: St. Margaret’s School, Tanglin Community Centre, Farrer Park Primary School, and Delta Sports Hall.
‘Human Error’ cited as the reason behind Tanjong Pagar GRC duplicate poll card printing
During Monday’s parliamentary session, Mr Chan addressed the issue, attributing it to human error in which test print data inadvertently mixed with production print data during the actual poll card printing process for voters in Tanjong Pagar GRC.
“As a result,” clarified Mr Chan on behalf of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, “the affected households received duplicate poll cards.”
However, he acknowledged that these duplicate poll cards correctly indicated the assigned polling stations.
Even if the affected voters missed the outreach efforts by ELD regarding the handling of duplicate poll cards, they were still able to vote at their designated polling stations.
Mr Chan emphasized that measures are in place to prevent any voter with two poll cards from voting more than once, as all voters must produce their NRC or valid passport as proof of identification which is verified against the polling station registers.
Mr Chan was responding to a parliamentary question filed by Joan Pereira, a Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC, seeking clarification on the incident, lessons learned, and measures to prevent future errors.
Mr Chan stated that ELD would implement new measures to avoid such errors.
In future, ELD will require the printer to tighten its internal quality assurance processes to ensure that the test print poll cards are not mailed out in future elections.
Beyond this, ELD and the printer will conduct joint checks to ensure that all test print poll cards are destroyed before the production of actual pole cards.
He said ELD and the printer will also perform a sampling audit to check that the details in the poll cards are accurate.
“This includes ensuring that the number of poll cards printed for a constituency is exactly the same as the number of registered voters in the constituency.”
He again reassured that ELD will continue to work with the printer to tighten processes and ensure that these safeguards are properly implemented in future elections.
Responding to Ms Pereira’s supplementary question about how the problem was identified and whether any confusion or issues were reported by affected Tanjong Pagar GRC voters on polling day, Mr Chan explained that the mistake occurred because the printer failed to remove the test data before printing the entire series.
“It’s the same process, it’s the same printer, so we will work with the printer to make sure that we tighten this up.”
Regarding confusion or problems, Mr Chan clarified that both the test poll cards and actual poll cards indicated the same polling station, so voters should not have encountered any difficulties as long as they went to the correct polling station.
The only distinguishing factor between the two poll cards for those affected was the serial number.
The eligibility of voters to cast their ballots was solely determined by their NRIC or passport, which allowed election officials to verify their identity.
Mr. Chan concluded by stating that there was no evidence to suggest that any voter was unable to vote due to receiving a duplicate poll card.
“We don’t believe that anybody was not able to vote because they received a duplicate poll card.”
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