No sacrificing voting security for convenience

We thank Mr Ngiam Shih Tung for his letter (Don't trade security for convenience; May 25).

The current registration procedure at a Polling Station requires an election official to manually search for and strike off the voter's name from the hard copy of the Polling Station Register (PSR).

The proposed eRegistration procedure registers a voter by electronically scanning his identity card and marking his record in the electronic copy of the PSR.

This will allow registration to be done in a shorter time, and reduce waiting time for voters. The electronic registration system will also alert the election official if an individual not eligible to vote turns up to register, or if a voter who registered earlier turns up again to register.

After a voter has been registered in the proposed new system, he will proceed to a different counter to be issued with a ballot paper.

During the issuance of the ballot paper, election officials will continue to read out the name and serial number of the voter in the PSR.

Polling agents will be seated within earshot of these counters to enable them to check against their own copies of the PSR, as per existing practice.

The Elections Department (ELD) plans to pilot eRegistration on a small scale first. Ahead of the pilot, we will conduct roadshows to familiarise voters involved in the pilot with the new registration procedure.

We will take into account feedback from the roadshows before we commence with the pilot. We will also review the lessons from the pilot before assessing the approach for full implementation.

Security will not be traded off for the sake of convenience. The ELD is fully committed to ensuring the integrity of voting procedures and of the entire electoral process.

Ang Boon Chin

Deputy Head (Operations)
Elections Department

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2017, with the headline 'No sacrificing voting security for convenience'. Print Edition | Subscribe