SINGAPORE: After the writ was issued for the Presidential Election 2023 and up to polling day, a total of 1,093 Singaporeans reported to the Elections Department Singapore (ELD) that they had not received their poll cards, despite claiming to have voted in the 2020 General Election (GE 2020).
This revelation was made by Minister Chan Chun Sing, who oversees the Public Service.
Minister Chan addressed the Parliament during the session held on Tuesday (19 Sept).
He informed the members that the ELD had conducted an investigation and determined that the most likely cause of the error was improper recording of the National Registration Card (NRIC) details for these affected voters.
This issue arose due to the introduction of the Electronic Registration System during GE2020.
“This is because the proper registration procedure may not have been followed for the affected voters, especially in some of the more crowded stations.”
To put this into perspective, this number translates to an average of one voter per polling station. During GE2020, each polling station had an average of 2,400 registered voters, and the 1,093 cases were distributed among over 500 polling stations.
On 24 August, it was reported that about 200 Singaporeans were unable to vote in PE2023 due to an alleged glitch in the last election.
Despite having participated in the 2020 General Election, these voters were alarmed when they did not receive their poll cards, effectively barring them from voting.
Minister Chan clarifies ELD’s oversight and improvements in electoral registration
Minister Chan provided further insights into the ELD’s oversight during the General Election 2020 and the steps taken to enhance the electoral registration process for the Presidential Election 2023.
When the NRC of a voter is scanned by the barcode reader, an alert of “beep” sound will be emitted.
The digital screen will flash the ”okay” button, indicating that the voter data has been successfully captured in the system.
“If the NRC of the next voter is scanned when the screen was not returned to the registration screen, the alert sound will still be emitted as this indicates that the NRIC has been scanned.”
“However, the record of this voter would not have been captured.”
He speculated that in their haste to expedite the process at some polling stations during GE 2020, some election officials may have inadvertently skipped this step.
Minister Chan was responding to Parliamentary Questions filed by MPs related to PE 2023 and issues with the electoral registration system.
Notably, Pritam Singh, Leader of the Opposition, seeking information about the wrongful removal of names from the Registers of Electors after the 2020 General Election.
Minister Chan assured the House that for PE 2023, ELD had implemented a new electronic registration system with a simplified process.
In this system, election officials no longer needed to press any buttons to return the registration screen, eliminating the issue of unrecorded registrations.
In response to Mr Pritam Singh’s query, Minister Chan noted that prior to the introduction of electronic registration in GE 2020, ELD had encountered only a few cases of voters on the non-voter list who claimed to have voted.
He further provided statistics, stating, “For GE2020, GE2015, and GE2011, ELD recorded about 111,000, 155,000, and 147,000 non-voters, respectively.”
“As can be seen, the non-voter list for GE2020 was much smaller rather than bigger than the two previous GE.”
Mr Chan added that ELD published the non-voter list for voters to verify about three months after GE2020. This was publicised via a press release on 5th October 2020, which was covered by mainstream media.
Minister Chan confirms restoration of names for 1,093 Voters
In his supplementary question, Mr Singh inquired whether the ELD would dispatch letters and notifications to GE2020 non-voters who hadn’t re-registered to ensure none were inadvertently excluded due to the additional Electronic Registration System steps.
In response, Mr Chan affirmed that all 1,093 voters omitted from PE 2023 registration had their names reinstated.
“ELD is doing the reconciliation for the PE2023. For all the non-voters listed for the PE2023, we will be sending them personal notifications as I’ve explained to encourage them to verify their status.”
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