GE2020 ballots to be destroyed on Jan 16

Election officials mixing the ballots before they start counting the overseas votes in the presence of the candidates from various parties on July 15, 2020. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The paper ballots and other documents used in the July 10 general election last year will be destroyed on Jan 16, the Elections Department (ELD) said on Monday (Jan 11).

In accordance with the Parliamentary Elections Act, the ballots and documents have been kept in sealed boxes and stored in the Supreme Court for the mandatory six-month period since the election took place.

The ELD said this is to ensure the secrecy of the vote.

The boxes will be taken to the Tuas South Incineration Plant to be incinerated on Saturday.

On Oct 5 last year, the ELD said in a statement that a copy of the register of electors for polling district PN23 of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC was accidentally sealed in a box containing ballot papers by an election official at the Elias Park Primary School Counting Centre.

"During the six-month period, only a judge of the High Court can order the sealed boxes to be opened and their contents inspected, and even then, it can only be for the purpose of instituting or maintaining a prosecution or an application to invalidate an election," the ELD said then.

Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC saw a three-cornered fight that was won by the People's Action Party team led by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, with 64.16 per cent of the votes.

By order of President Halimah Yacob, the box will be opened at the Supreme Court so the register can be retrieved for the purpose of preparing the list of electors in that polling district who did not vote in the election, the ELD said on Monday.

"Thereafter, the box will be re-sealed and sent for destruction, together with the other boxes," it added.

After the list of non-voters is retrieved and published, the voters on the list can apply to have their names restored to the register of electors.

Eligible voters who failed to cast their votes in the election are removed from the register, under the Parliamentary Elections Act. They are ineligible to vote or stand as a candidate in future elections if their names are not restored.

Singaporeans can check their elector status on the ELD website or on the SingPass Mobile app.

The ELD further said that, due to Covid-19, it will be putting in place safe distancing measures during the proceedings at the Supreme Court and the incineration plant, including limiting the number of representatives from political parties who can be present as witnesses.

The department said it has contacted the various political parties and asked them to nominate their respective representatives.

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