Singapore — The Elections Department (ELD) has unveiled new measures to ensure a safe election amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The new measures pertain to polling and nominating procedures. It will issue rules on campaigning at a later date.
In a virtual press briefing on Monday (June 8), the ELD — a department under the Prime Minister’s Office — said it will increase the number of polling stations from 880 to 1,100, to reduce the number of voters at each polling station from an average of 3,000 to 2,400 voters.
Besides this, voters will be issued a recommended 2-hour voting time-band, which will be indicated on their hardcopy poll card and e-Poll card (on the SingPass mobile app), to spread out voters across polling hours. Although voters are encouraged to cast their ballots during the recommended time-bands, they may vote at any time when the polling stations are open.
Polling stations will be open for senior voters from 8 am to 12 pm, but senior voters who wish to vote outside this reserved time slot will be given priority access to cast their ballots. Senior voters may be accompanied by one member of their household.
The ELD is also using technology to streamline the voting process. Voters may use the website VoteQ.gowhere.gov.sg to check how long the queue is at their assigned polling station before they set off to vote.
Once a voter reaches the polling station, he must undergo a temperature check, self-scan his NRIC for registration, sanitise his hands, and wear disposable gloves before he is handed a ballot paper. Voters may use a self-inking ‘X’ pen or their own pens to cast their ballot. The entire process should take no longer than five minutes, according to the ELD.
Candidates and polling agents will also have to undergo temperature screenings at polling stations and must use the SafeEntry app to check in and out of the station, for contact tracing purposes. Voters do not need to use the SafeEntry app since contract tracing can be done when they scan their NRICs before voting.
All who enter the polling stations must maintain a distance of 1m from one another. Election officials will be equipped with protective gear like surgical masks, disposable gloves, face shields, and pocket-sized hand sanitisers. Dedicated cleaners will also clean common touch-points like the polling booths and self-inking ‘X’ pens once every half hour before disinfecting the polling stations thoroughly when the polls close.
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