Scan-and-go e-registration trial for some in presidential polls

The exterior of the Elections Department on June 1, 2017.
The exterior of the Elections Department on June 1, 2017. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Registering to vote in next month's presidential election will be as simple as scan-and-go for some Singaporeans, who will get to try out a new electronic registration system.

The Elections Department (ELD) said yesterday that the new system, which election officials will use to scan the barcodes on voters' identity cards, will be piloted at Chua Chu Kang GRC, Tanjong Pagar GRC and Yuhua SMC. This means voters in these areas can expect a shorter wait in the event that they go to the polls next month.

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.

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 election officials needed to record attendance, compared to the pen-and-paper system.

Voting, however, will still be done by marking paper ballots with a pen.

The trial is part of efforts to review election procedures to improve voter experience and efficiency, said the ELD, which plans to roll out the system islandwide eventually after testing it.

  • ROADSHOWS THIS WEEKEND

  • Today

    Hong Kah North CC: 10.30am to 2.30pm

    Nanyang CC: 10.30am to 2.30pm Tanjong Pagar CC: 10.30am to 2.30pm

    Tiong Bahru CC: 11.30am to 3.30pm

    Yuhua CC: 10.30am to 2.30pm


    Tomorrow

    Hong Kah North CC: 1pm to 5pm

    Nanyang CC: 10.30am to 2.30pm

    Tanjong Pagar CC: 1pm to 5pm

    Tiong Bahru CC: 10.30am to 2.30pm

    Yuhua CC: 10.30am to 2.30pm

The trial will cover about 10 per cent of voters across 98 polling stations, to capture a sufficiently large sample size. The three constituencies were chosen to provide a mix of polling station types - such as schools and void decks - and voters across age groups and housing types, the ELD said.

The ELD will organise roadshows at 11 community centres in the three constituencies from today to Sept 10 for people to try out the new system.

"We need to ensure that the new process is robust and will work well on the ground," it said, adding that it will gather feedback from election officials and voters during the roadshows and the upcoming election, which is reserved for Malay candidates.

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 qualifies to run.To ensure the e-registration system is secure from cyber attacks, laptops used will not be connected to the Internet, the ELD said when it first unveiled plans for the trial in May.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2017, with the headline 'Scan-and-go e-registration trial for some in presidential polls'. Print Edition | Subscribe