GE2020: More registration and ballot paper issuance counters; voters no longer need to don disposable gloves in light of long queues

A long queue of voters at Block 105A Jalan Bukit Merah polling station on July 10, 2020.
A long queue of voters at Block 105A Jalan Bukit Merah polling station on July 10, 2020.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
Residents queue along Burghley Drive to cast votes at CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel on July 10, 2020.
Residents queue along Burghley Drive to cast votes at CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel on July 10, 2020.ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN
Voters at Poi Ching School polling station in Tampines, on July 10, 2020.
Voters at Poi Ching School polling station in Tampines, on July 10, 2020.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Voters queue at Woodlands Secondary School on July 10, 2020.
Voters queue at Woodlands Secondary School on July 10, 2020. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA
Voters wait in line at 54 Cassia Crescent to cast their vote for Mountbatten SMC on July 10, 2020.
Voters wait in line at 54 Cassia Crescent to cast their vote for Mountbatten SMC on July 10, 2020.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Voters at a polling station set up at 309a Jurong East Street 32 around noon, on July 10, 2020.
Voters at a polling station set up at 309a Jurong East Street 32 around noon, on July 10, 2020.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
A queue forms outside Changkat Primary School polling station on July 10, 2020.
A queue forms outside Changkat Primary School polling station on July 10, 2020.ST PHOTO: JOEL CHAN

SINGAPORE -  The Elections Department (ELD) said in a statement on Friday afternoon (July 10) that it has increased the number of registration and ballot paper issuance counters to ease queues.

In a 4pm update, it said the queue situation across the vast majority of polling stations has improved considerably. About 70 per cent of polling stations had fewer than 20 voters in the queue, it said.

To address the long queues, ELD made several adjustments at polling stations without compromising voter safety.

These include the increase in number of registration and ballot paper issuance counters at the polling stations, and its earlier-announced move of doing away with the requirement to don disposable gloves.

In an earlier update, the department said: “We observed that this step in particular contributed to the longer than usual voting times. Gloves are still available for voters who would like to use both sanitiser and gloves.

“We are sorry for the wait and inconvenience to voters. We seek the understanding of all voters and advise voters to keep to their assigned time-bands where possible to avoid crowding. We would also like to remind all voters to continue to practise safe distancing.”

It added that more voters had turned up at polling stations this morning outside of their assigned voting time belts and that this, along with enhanced safety measures, led to long queues.

ELD said on Friday morning it has observed "longer than usual queues" at some polling stations in Singapore - where more than 2.65 million voters are expected to cast their votes for the general election - and urged voters to stick to their allotted time slots.

It said: "The voting time-bands from 8 am to 12 noon are reserved for senior voters aged 65 years and above to minimise their interaction with younger voters.

"ELD urges younger voters, who are not accompanying any seniors, to keep to their assigned voting time-bands after 12 noon."

Voters can check the queue situation at their assigned polling stations before setting off to vote.

 
 
 
 

But retail pharmacist Noor Reyla, 53, who was at the 232 Sumang Lane polling station for Punggol West SMC, said the site was not accurate.

She said: “I checked it before I went down, but upon arriving the crowd was much bigger than stated. I came during my allocated time belt, but realised (that) quite a number of people came earlier than allocated. That probably caused the long queues.”

Some had better experiences. Ang Mo Kio GRC voter Tan Zhen Yong, 26, said he was in and out of his polling station in 10 minutes when he voted at around 1.10pm.

The programmer said: “I didn’t wait long. There were probably two to three people ahead of me and one or two people behind me. But I had to test the self-inking pen a few times because I wasn’t sure how to get a full cross. My first time, I got a half-cross.”

In a bid to enhance the safety of voting amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of polling stations has been increased from 880 to 1,100. This means each station will serve an average of 2,400 voters, down from 3,000.

As of noon, 840,000 voters, or 31 per cent of registered voters, have cast their votes at local polling stations.

Additional reporting by Farzanah Friday