Singaporeans who have been struck off voter rolls will be individually notified by mail, Singpass app

SINGAPORE – Singaporeans who have been struck off the voter rolls will be individually informed both by mail and the Singpass app to verify their status and restore their names to the Registers of Electors.

Education Minister and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing told Parliament on Tuesday that the Elections Department (ELD) would institutionalise this going forward, in addition to the current practice of putting out statements urging voters to check their status when the non-voter list is published.

In the 2020 General Election, ELD recorded about 111,000 non-voters, while in GE2015 and GE2011 about 155,000 and 147,000 people respectively failed to cast their votes, said Mr Chan.

Mr Chan was replying to questions from Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC), Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC), Mr Liang Eng Hwa (Bukit Panjang) and Ms He Ting Ru (Sengkang GRC), who had filed parliamentary questions about recent election-related system issues.

Sept 1, which was Polling Day for the recent presidential election (PE2023), saw long queues form at several polling stations from 8am due to technical issues with the voter electronic registration system.

Addressing a question on this by Dr Tan, Mr Chan said there was no evidence that the technical problems were caused by cyber attacks.

Instead, it was due to the central server not being able to handle the “inordinate amount of surge” by registration devices at the polling stations trying to send back data. As their messages did not go through, the devices kept trying to contact the server, which caused a cascade effect, added Mr Chan.

This could have been partly contributed by the morning peak: 52 per cent of total voters turned up to vote in the first four hours, compared with 32 per cent in GE2020, he said.

ELD officials realised this at about 8.30am and quickly increased server capacity, and the issue was largely resolved by 10am, said Mr Chan.

Mr Singh asked about ELD’s Aug 24 statement – which said about 200 Singaporeans had been left off the voter rolls though they had voted at GE2020 – and the steps that will be taken to prevent a reoccurrence.

Mr Chan said that from the time the Writ of Election for PE2023 to Polling Day, 1,093 Singaporeans told ELD they did not receive their poll card even though they said they had voted in GE2020.

ELD’s investigation concluded that the most probable cause of error was that NRIC details of those affected had not been properly captured by the e-registration system introduced in GE2020.

Then, election officials who scanned a voter’s national registration identity card (NRIC) would hear a beep.

They then had to tap an “OK” button on screen before they could register the next voter. If they did not and scanned the next NRIC, there would still be a beep but the record of this voter would not have been captured, said Mr Chan.

“It is likely that in their effort to clear the queues at some polling stations quickly in GE2020, some election officials might have missed out this step,” he added.

A new electronic system was implemented for PE2023 which did not require officials to press any button before registering the next voter. All 1,093 affected voters have also had their names restored, he added.


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