A woman has filed a police report due to complications on Polling Day in which she was unable to vote because the computer scanning system showed that she had already voted.
The woman received a “blue ballot paper” to vote after she reported to the election officials about the issue. However, she later found out that her tendered ballot paper will not be counted as vote, but to be used for further investigation.
Hence, she decided to lodge a police report.
Madam Lum, a 36-year-old designer staying at Ghim Moh Link, shared her story with Lianhe Zaobao. According to her testimony, she went to the polling station at HDB Pavilion Block 23A around noon with her husband and two young children to vote for the candidates running at Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.
Since Madam Lum was there with her children, the election officials placed her in the “priority queues”.
While her identity card was being scanned for registration, a red “warning” alert appeared on the computer screen. She tried multiple times but was still unable to register herself for voting.
The election officials also helped her by manually entering her identity card number; however, the system showed that the individual under her identity card number has already voted.
Madam Lum suspected that there was a flaw in the computer system given that she had not voted and never lost her identity card before.
“The election official asked me if I still wanted to vote, then asked me to take an oath of identity and later gave me a blue ballot paper,” she said.
Madam Lum shared that she was then informed by the officers that the “blue ballot paper” will not be counted as a vote, but will be used to assist in further investigations.
Thus, she went home and called the Elections Department (ELD) to report on the issue. The ELD apparently told her that this was the first time such an issue came up, and suggested her to file a police report.
Thinking that the ELD will deal with the issue immediately after she reached out, Madam Lum returned to the polling station at 2pm hoping to cast her vote. However, it ended up a disappointment again.
“I have not giving up yet, and called the ELD again at 5pm, but they said that investigating still ongoing, and couldn’t allowed me to cast my vote,” she asserted.
It is worth noting that Madam Lum is not a new voter and that she did not encounter any issues when fulfilling her duty as a voter in the previous elections – with manual registration.
She expressed her frustration as this was her first time experiencing this issue where she could not vote because of a flaw in the computer scanning, and ELD did not appear to have any back up plan to remedy her case.
As stated in the ELD website, the tendered ballot papers, which is blue in colour will not be counted as vote. It will be issued to a person who applies to cast his vote even after the Presiding Officer (PO) has informed the voter that according to the register, he has already voted. For example, the voter had been registered in the e-Registration system by a PO at the same polling station earlier.
ELD clarifies the incident, says it was due to “human error and miscommunication”
On Wednesday (15 July), in a media statement by the ELD to Mothership.sg, it stated that Madam Lum’s identity card number was not used to register to vote on Polling day.
In fact, the whole mix-up occurred due to “human error and miscommunication” between the two election officials while handling her registration.
The ELD explained that the polling officers did not switch out of the wrong module of the e-Registration system, which was used to serve the previous voter; thus resulting in the unsuccessful registration for Madam Lum’s identity card number.
“The PO then escalated this to the Assistant Returning Officer (ARO). However, a miscommunication between the PO and ARO 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,” the statement read.
According to the ELD, it has reached out to Madam Lum to explain the situation and apologise to her.
It added that it will restore Madam Lum to the Registers of Electors without penalty.