18 July 2011
Dear Mr Chee,
We refer to your email dated 26 May 2011 and we apologise for the delay in responding to you
With reference to the further points that you have raised with specifics, we would like to make the following clarifications.
On the transport of ballot boxes by bus to the counting centre, the process ensures that there is no break in the chain of custody of the ballot boxes from the first polling station till the time the boxes are delivered to the counting centre. Every ballot box must be officially sealed (and this may be witnessed by candidates and polling agents, who can also place their seals, if they are present at the polling station at the close of polls) and each will be labelled with the name of the polling station of origin before it may be loaded onto the bus. On board the bus is a police officer, who stands guard over these ballot boxes from the moment he receives them. The police officer remains on board throughout the journey as the bus goes to the other polling stations to collect the remaining sealed ballot boxes. Finally, before the boxes are opened at the counting centre, candidates and their agents who are present may inspect all the boxes again to ascertain that the seals of the ballot boxes are intact and have not been tampered with.
As for the re-entry of polling agents into the polling station, after further investigations, we recognise that the practice has not been consistent amongst election officials. We will certainly consider your feedback when we review the procedures for election officials to follow and the training of officials.
GOH JING XIAN (MS)
Manager (Public Education & Training)
Elections Department, Prime Minister’s Office
22 Aug 2011
Dear Ms Goh,
Thank you for your reply.
Your explanation that the ballot boxes can be inspected and sealed by candidates and polling agents before they are transported is welcome. However this is negated by the inconsistent application of regulations, as you have acknowledged, by officials from the Elections Department (ELD).
As I noted in my emails, some of our candidates were refused entry into certain polling stations and some of our polling agents were refused re-entry. If they could not be in the polling stations, how can they verify that the ballot boxes are properly sealed and their transportation conducted safely?
To ensure that future elections are conducted flawlessly as far as the voting process is concerned we would like to ask for the ELD to conduct a seminar where parties can be briefed on the various procedures of voting and for you to receive feedback from candidates and polling agents on how loopholes can be plugged and the entire balloting process improved.
CHEE SOON JUAN
Singapore Democratic Party