GE2020: SDP calls for independent inquiry after error on Polling Day prevented woman from voting

GE2020: SDP calls for independent inquiry after error on Polling Day prevented woman from voting

Paul Tambyah gave a doorstop members of the media at SDP HQ Jul 11, 2020
The Singapore Democratic Party's Paul Tambyah speaks to the media at the party's headquarters on Jul 11, 2020. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) on Thursday (Jul 16) called for an independent inquiry into how the General Election was conducted, after a woman missed her chance to vote due to an error by an election officer. 

On Polling Day on Jul 10, a presiding officer at a polling station had tried to register the woman, known only as Madam Lum, several times but failed. 

Mdm Lum, a voter in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC which was contested by the SDP, was told that she had already voted when, in fact, the presiding officer was using the wrong module in the e-Registration system to process her registration. 

She reportedly filled out a tendered ballot slip, which was not counted in the final result

The People's Action Party (PAP) team won the four-member GRC with 66.36 per cent of the vote against the SDP team.

READ: Woman did not get to vote on Polling Day due to 'human error and miscommunication': ELD

In a media release, SDP chairman Paul Tambyah said: "We call for (1) the ELD to reveal how many such irregular events happened during the poll, and (2) an independent inquiry into the conduct of the election with a particular focus on issues such as the use of 'tendered ballot slips' which apparently were not counted in this election.

"This inquiry should be reviewed by all the political parties who took part in this election."

He added that the Elections Department (ELD) should be removed from the Prime Minister’s Office and placed under an independent organisation "reporting to all the registered political parties and answerable to the people of Singapore".

SDP also pointed out other issues on Polling Day, such as long queues at certain polling stations and the extension of voting hours by two hours.

"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," Dr Tambyah said. 

"From the long queues at several counting stations to the changing instructions on the use of disposable gloves to the lack of advance information about the need for personal protective equipment for polling agents from 7pm and often conflicting instructions for that hour at the polling stations, coupled with the sudden and unexpected announcement about the extension of polling hours, this election has been fraught with missteps, mistakes and misdirections."

ELD had earlier said that a thorough review of what went wrong on Polling Day will be conducted.

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Source: CNA/hm(gs)

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