The Elections Department (ELD) will be conducting thorough review of the issues during Polling Day on 10 July which slowed down the voting process.
In a statement on Monday (13 July), the ELD apologised for the incontinence to voters, especially the elderly, acknowledging that the measures it had implemented to ensure the safety of voters, candidates and officials “reduced the efficiency” that people were so used to from previous elections.
These precautions included reserving 8 am to 12 pm slots at polling stations for seniors aged 65 and above and having voters sanitise their hands and don disposable gloves before receiving their polling cards.
ELD released the statement in response to a letter published on Straits Time by a citizen who complained that it took him and his 89-year old mother about an hour to cast their voters at Jing Shan Primary School in the morning. He noted that the previous General Election in 2015 only took them 10 minutes.
The head of the ELD Koh Siong Ling responded by saying, “We will conduct a thorough review to understand what went wrong and why they happened, especially at some polling stations.”
Mr Koh said that the ELD has adjusted its processes on Polling Day itself “without compromising voter safety” such as doing away with the disposable gloves which significantly slowed down the process.
The statement noted that there were long queues as several polling stations including Palm View Primary School in Sengkang, the Singapore University of Technology and Design and in Jurong East Street 32.
The long queues also resulted in the ELD announced an extension of the end of voting time by two hours from 8 pm to 10 pm. This is the first time in Singapore’s history that voting was extended.
However, while adjustments did improve the queue situation, a number of polling stations continued to have long queues.
“We will also study why this is the case, and draw lessons for all polling stations in future,” said Mr Koh who also acknowledged the feedback received that it was difficult to navigate around certain polling stations.
“We will definitely pay special attention to the needs of senior voters and make their voting experience a smooth and comfortable one,” he added.
It is curious, however, why ELD is conducting its own review. Is it a case of ownself checking ownself?
On top of that, the ELD noted in the statement that the long queues were mostly due to the gloves voters were initially required to put on as a precautionary measure against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, it then arbitrarily removed the required in order to speed up the process and clear the queues. Who authorised the adjustments?