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HomesingaporeOver 1,000 Singaporeans restored to voter list after electronic errors lead to...

Over 1,000 Singaporeans restored to voter list after electronic errors lead to exclusion from Presidential poll

SINGAPORE: More than 1,000 Singaporeans have been restored to the Registers of  Electors, after they were erroneously put on the non-voter list for the 2023 Presidential Election despite having cast their ballots at the last polls.

Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing said this on Tuesday (Sep 19) in response to a question from Workers’ Party Chief Pritam Singh (WP-Aljunied), on how the issue – which arose from the 2020 General Election – would be rectified. 

After the Writ of Election was issued and up to Polling Day on Sep 1, there were 1,093 Singaporeans who informed the Elections Department (ELD) that they did not receive their poll cards, despite having voting in 2020, Mr Chan first said on Monday in a written reply to parliamentary questions. 

This was an increase from the 200 or so reported on Aug 24.

The “most probable cause” of the error was that the NRIC details of the affected voters had not been captured properly by an electronic registration system only introduced in the 2020 General Election, said Mr Chan. 

For future elections, Singaporeans placed on the non-voter list will be individually informed to verify their status and restore their names to the registers, he said in his earlier response, which he reiterated on Tuesday. 

They will be informed via mail and through the Singpass in-app message service Notify. 

In Singapore, voting in elections is compulsory for all who are eligible. 

Related:

Singaporeans on non-voter list for future elections will be individually informed via mail and Singpass

ELD will require printer to tighten internal processes to prevent repeat of duplicate poll cards

In another supplementary question, Member of Parliament Liang Eng Hwa (PAP-Bukit Panjang) asked why ELD did not automatically update the registers after each election, given that voting is compulsory in Singapore. 

“Precisely because voting is compulsory, the Election Act requires that the names of the non-voters be expunged from the registers if they do not vote,” said Mr Chan. 

These Singaporeans must pay a penalty of S$50 for their names to be restored, if they do not provide a valid reason for not voting. This fee is waived if they provide a valid reason such as being overseas on Polling Day. 

“In other words, the penalty for not voting and the process of expunging the names of non-voters gives effect to the notion of compulsory voting,” said Mr Chan. “Starting on a clean slate with no penalty will undermine this.” 

Watch:

Chan Chun Sing on ensuring smooth voting with e-registration system

MP He Ting Ru (WP-Sengkang) also asked whether ELD had data about how many NRICs were scanned during the 2020 General Election, compared to how many votes were eventually recorded as cast. 

“That would actually give us a first instance indication of whether there’s any discrepancy beyond the 1,093 voters that have contacted ELD to say that they voted but their names were erroneously removed from the registers,” she said. 

At the end of each Polling Day, there is a combination of electronic as well as manual records, which are used when the electronic system malfunctions, said Mr Chan. 

“We won’t immediately have the numbers because there is an electronic data set, which we also have to reconcile with a manual set,” he added. 

“Even if we can reconcile it immediately, it will not be able to tell us who are the non-voters accurately.” 

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