A line of people moved briskly as an "election official" scanned the barcode on their mock identity cards to register their attendance, then directed them to pick up their ballot slip at a "polling station" in Tiong Bahru Community Centre yesterday.
They were trying out the new electronic registration system, which some voters will use in the event that they go to the polls next month to elect Singapore's next president, at one of five roadshows organised by the Elections Department (ELD) yesterday for people to familiarise themselves with the process.
The system will be piloted at Chua Chu Kang GRC, Tanjong Pagar GRC and Yuhua SMC in the coming election, the ELD announced last Friday.
It will mean shorter waiting times at polling stations for voters in those areas, it said. Voting, however, will still be done by marking paper ballots with a pen. People can try out the new system and provide feedback today and on Sept 9 and 10 at the roadshows, which will be held at 11 community centres.
The ELD will also gather feedback from voters and election officials during the election, which is reserved for Malay candidates.
Most of the visitors at the Tiong Bahru roadshow yesterday said that e-registration was fast and convenient. Tiong Bahru resident Lucy Lye, 62, said it was easy to use and seemed faster than the manual method of registration.
"Last time, I had to wait about half an hour to vote. I tried to go early to beat the queue but many people were there too," said the retiree.
With the electronic system, election officials will no longer have to manually search for and strike off names of voters on printed copies of the polling station register. But they must still check the voter's identity against his or her identity card.
The rest of the process, such as verbal verification with the polling agents representing candidates, remains the same.
If a voter who has been registered before tries to register again, the system will raise an alert.
The ELD said the new system will halve the number of officials needed to take attendance, compared with the pen-and-paper system.
Three people have said they intend to contest the presidency next month - former speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, and businessmen Farid Khan and Salleh Marican. Voters will go to the polls if more than one of them qualifies to run.
WATCH THE VIDEO
Watch residents being e-registered. http://str.sg/4HZN