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SDP asks ELD to reveal number of ‘irregular events’ on Polling Day, calls for inquiry into use of tendered ballot slips

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has called on the authorities to account for the “irregular events” that occurred during the General Election (GE) last Friday. It also wants an inquiry to be opened to look into the use of tendered ballot slips, which were not counted.

SDP asks ELD to reveal number of ‘irregular events’ on Polling Day, calls for inquiry into use of tendered ballot slips

Voters casting their ballots at a polling station in Dunearn Secondary School on July 10, 2020.

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has called on the authorities to account for the “irregular events” that occurred during the General Election (GE) last Friday. It also wants an inquiry to be opened to look into the use of tendered ballot slips, which were not counted.

The party's request on Thursday (July 16) comes a day after the Elections Department (ELD) apologised for “human error and miscommunication” that led to a 36-year-old voter being unable to cast her ballot.

The woman, who belonged to Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency where SDP contested and lost with 33.64 per cent of the vote, had made a police report when she ended up marking her choice on a tendered ballot paper, which would not be counted.

In a media release, SDP chairman Paul Tambyah stated that the party is “very concerned” with the development.

He asked ELD to reveal how many of such irregular events happened during the polls. 

He also called for an independent inquiry to be convened to look into the conduct of the election with a focus on the use of tendered ballot slips.

Tendered ballot papers are issued to individuals who apply to cast their vote even after the Presiding Officer has informed them that they have already voted. The Presiding Officer is an election official who conducts and assists with polling proceedings at a polling station.

The Parliamentary Elections Act states that these tendered votes are not counted and will instead be placed into separate packets, sealed and retained.

The law also states that tendered votes are only required for the purposes of an application to void the election of a candidate on certain grounds, including in the event that illegal practices were committed.

Dr Tambyah said that the independent inquiry should be reviewed by all political parties who took part in the GE.

He also said that ELD should be removed from the Prime Minister’s Office and placed under an independent organisation that reports to all registered political parties in Singapore and is “answerable” to Singaporeans.

Dr Tambyah highlighted that the incident with the female voter emphasises the problems associated with calling a “snap election in the middle of a pandemic”.

He then gave examples of how the election was “fraught with missteps, mistakes and misdirections”.

These included the long queues at several polling stations, the change of instructions on the use of disposable gloves, and the “sudden and unexpected” extension of voting hours to 10pm.

ELD had said that the extension, which came less than an hour before it was originally supposed to end at 8pm last Friday, was to allow enough time for all voters to cast their ballots.

Dr Tambyah said that these are symptoms of an "opportunistic rush" by an "irresponsible and reckless" People’s Action Party (PAP) leadership to capitalise on the perceived flight-to-safety mindset of voters choosing the familiar ruling party during a crisis, and that this made PAP call an election months before the end of its term.

TODAY has sought ELD’s response to SDP’s statement.

Related topics

SDP ELD vote Singapore General Election SGVotes2020 Holland-Bukit Timah GRC

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