GE2020: 101 overseas Singaporeans unable to vote due to 'glitch' in ICA system

GE2020: 101 overseas Singaporeans unable to vote due to 'glitch' in ICA system

ELD office
The Elections Department headquarters located along Prinsep Link. (File photo: Xabryna Kek)

SINGAPORE: A total of 101 Singaporeans living overseas will not be able to vote in the 2020 General Election because of a glitch in the system that processes applications from overseas Singaporean voters, the authorities said on Saturday (Jul 4).

The glitch was in an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) system that processes local contact addresses submitted by overseas Singaporeans for voting purposes, said ICA and the Elections Department (ELD) in a joint statement.

It was uncovered after ELD informed ICA on Wednesday that applications of some overseas Singaporeans to register their local contact addresses were not processed.

ICA on Saturday apologised to the overseas Singaporeans affected by the glitch, saying that it is reaching out to them.

"ICA will improve the robustness of our systems and tighten our processes," it said.

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Singaporeans who live overseas and wish to vote must have a local contact address. This is so that ELD can allot the voter to an electoral division to vote in.

Singaporeans who had changed their NRIC address to an overseas address are required to provide a local contact address via ELD's website. This would then be sent electronically to ICA, where a system would automatically generate hardcopy letters.

That letter would then be sent by registered mail to the owner of the local address, in order to confirm that he or she had allowed the address to be used by the overseas voter. The owner of the address would need to sign and return the acknowledgement to ICA.

Once this was done, the local address would be tagged to the overseas Singaporean in the system and sent to ELD for the purpose of preparing the Registers of Electors.

"For some cases, the system had failed to generate hardcopy letters to be sent to the owners of the local contact addresses," the authorities said on Saturday.

As a result, ELD did not receive a confirmed local contact address for the overseas Singaporeans, and did not include their names in the Registers of Electors.

READ: GE2020: Voting to proceed at overseas polling stations, subject to approval from local authorities: ELD

ELD had announced on Mar 13 that the Registers were open for public inspection, including Singaporeans who were overseas.

Those living overseas could submit claims to be included either online or at Singapore overseas missions. 

The authorities said 168 Singaporeans who checked the Registers submitted claims to be included. The registration officer adjudicated the 168 cases and added them to the Registers.

There are now a total of 2,653,942 registered voters.

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Under the Parliamentary Elections Act, no additional names can be included in the Registers for the current election after the Registers have been certified.

The Registers were certified by ELD on Apr 15.

"When the Registers of Electors were opened for inspection in March, these affected SCs did not submit any claims to ELD to be included in the Registers," said the authorities.

Those who wish to seek further clarification can email ICA at ICA_IC_Unit@ica.gov.sg.

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Source: CNA/lk(aj)

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