SINGAPORE: Miscommunication between two election officials led to a woman not being able to vote on Polling Day, the Elections Department (ELD) said on Wednesday (Jul 15).
The woman, only known as Madam Lum, was told that she had already voted, but the presiding officer was in fact using the wrong module of the e-Registration system.
The 36-year-old woman is reportedly an elector in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC. AsiaOne reported that she was given a tendered ballot slip to record her vote, but this was not counted in the election result. She later made a police report.
"The system logs showed that Mdm Lum’s NRIC was not used to register to vote on Polling Day. The mistake was due to human error and miscommunication between the two election officials handling her registration on Polling Day," ELD said.
ELD said that system logs showed that the presiding officer had tried to register Mdm Lum’s NRIC using the e-Registration system multiple times.
However, the system did not register Mdm Lum’s NRIC successfully because the presiding officer had not switched out of the wrong module of the e-Registration system, which he had used to serve the previous voter.
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The officer then escalated this to the assistant returning officer. However, a miscommunication between the two led the latter to interpret that Mdm Lum’s NRIC number had already been used to register for voting earlier in the day.
"This was then wrongly communicated to Mdm Lum," ELD said.
ELD said it has since reached out to Mdm Lum to let her know that her NRIC was not used to register to vote and to apologise to her, adding that it will restore her to the Registers of Electors without penalty.
"We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience caused to Mdm Lum," ELD said.
This is the first time e-Registration was used in a general election in Singapore. Numerous other changes had to be made to polling procedures due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Polling Day on Jul 10 was extended by two hours after long lines at some polling stations beyond 8pm. ELD said that the additional need to wear gloves for hygiene purposes contributed to long wait times, and later removed the requirement.
ELD has said that it will conduct a through review of what went wrong on Polling Day.
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