GE2020: ELD apologises, to do thorough review of Polling Day long queues

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·2 min read
Voters queueing up to vote at Dunearn Secondary School, during the 2020 General Election in Singapore. (Photo: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
Voters queueing up to vote at Dunearn Secondary School, during the 2020 General Election in Singapore. (Photo: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Elections Department (ELD) has apologised for causing inconvenience to voters amid long queues at the polling stations on Polling Day last Friday (10 July).

It also said in a forum letter to The Straits Times that it will conduct a thorough review of what went wrong that slowed down the voting process amid safe distancing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“We have listened to the feedback of voters on Polling Day itself and since then, and would like to deeply apologise for the inconvenience caused, especially to our senior voters,” Koh Siong Ling, head of ELD, said in the letter.

“We acknowledge that the new measures we had put in place for Polling Day to protect the health and safety of voters, candidates and election officials had reduced the efficiency voters were used to in previous elections.”

Did away with wearing disposable gloves

Long queues were formed at several polling stations from the moment they were open for voting at 8am on Friday. ELD eventually did away with the requirement to wear disposable gloves while casting ballots, and extended voting hours until 10pm.

In the forum letter, Koh said said that ELD did away with the need to don disposable gloves as it significantly added to the time voters spent at the polling station, contributing to the long queues.

“We did away with the need to don disposable gloves since voters would have sanitised their hands a few times,” he wrote in the Straits Times forum letter.

“By 2pm, 70 per cent of the polling stations had queues of fewer than 20 voters. But despite our best efforts, a number of polling stations continued to see long queues. We will also study why this was the case, and draw lessons for all polling stations in future.”

Difficulties with station layout

Koh also acknowledged feedback on difficulties experienced by voters with the layout of specific polling stations.

“We will definitely pay special attention to the needs of senior voters and make their voting experience a smooth and comfortable one. We thank the public once again for their patience and understanding,” he wrote in the forum letter.

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