Singapore — More than 2.5 million ballot papers and other documents used during the General Election last year were incinerated on Saturday (Jan 16) as part of the process to ensure voting secrecy.
Just after 8 am that day, the sealed boxes containing the documents and papers were taken from the Supreme Court vault and transferred to the Tuas South Incineration Plant.
According to the law, ballot papers are to be sealed and kept in safe custody for six months after they are counted when polling ends. The ballot papers are kept for instances like legal challenges that may arise.
After the six-month period, they are then destroyed in front of witnesses, including election candidates from various parties, their agents and Elections Department (ELD) officials. The process ensures votes stay secret until they are incinerated.
Due to Covid-19 safe distancing measures, the number of witnesses for the incineration process was limited, said the ELD. The office had reached out to the political parties to nominate their respective representatives.
Among those present were Workers’ Party chief and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh, who was accompanied by WP politician Nicole Seah; Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Yeo Wan Ling; the Progress Singapore Party’s Kayla Low and Choo Shaun Ming; and the Singapore Democratic Party’s Paul Tambyah and Min Cheong.
In a Facebook post, the WP highlighted the importance of the process of safeguarding and incinerating ballot boxes and ballot papers in ensuring vote secrecy.
It said: “Due to all these processes in place, and the presence of our volunteers as polling and counting agents, we can vouch that the secrecy of your votes is safeguarded. To this day, there have been no reports of a ballot being traced back to a voter.”
At the end of the day, there was praise all round for the smooth implementation of the transport and incineration process by the ELD. /TISG
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