Singapore – After a woman was unable to vote during the General Elections due to human error, opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) requested an independent inquiry be made on how Polling Day was conducted.
A 36-year-old woman known only as Madam Lum missed her right to vote on July 10 after a presiding election officer tried to register her identity card but failed. Mdm Lum arrived at her designated polling station at Block 23A Ghim Moh Link on Polling Day, yet was unable to vote because her NRIC had already been used despite Mdm Lum mentioning she had not yet cast her vote nor did she ever lose her identity card.
According to a Lianhe Wanbao report, an official had asked her if “she really wanted to vote” and provided her with a tendered ballot paper. It was only after she had submitted her form did Mdm Lum find out that her vote would not be counted in the final tally. Tendered ballot papers are not counted but are sealed separately and retained, as per the Parliamentary Elections Act. Mdm Lum had filed a police report on the incident as advised by the Elections Department (ELD).
ELD confirmed that the mistake “was due to human error and miscommunication between the two election officials handling her registration on Polling Day,” reported asiaone.com. The presiding officer used the wrong module in the e-Registration system, which resulted in the error.
In response to the incident, SDP chairman Dr Paul Tambyah said in a media release that they were calling for the ELD “to reveal how many such irregular events happened during the poll.” The party also called for an independent inquiry into the conduct of the election with a “particular focus on issues such as the use of ‘tendered ballot slips'” which are not counted in the final tally. “This inquiry should be reviewed by all the political parties who took part in this election,” noted Dr Tambyah.
Furthermore, he suggested that the ELD be removed from the Prime Minister’s Office and placed under an independent organisation that “reports to all the registered political parties and answerable to the people of Singapore,” reported channelnewsasia.com. “The right to choose one’s leaders is fundamental to a democratic state like Singapore. This incident only emphasises the problems associated with calling a snap election in the middle of a pandemic,” added Dr Tambyah.
The SDP team lost to the People’s Action Party in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, the four-member constituency where the incident occurred, with 33.64 per cent of the votes.
ELD confirmed that a thorough review of the error would be conducted.