SINGAPORE: More polling stations and other improvements to the voting process will be rolled out for the 2023 Presidential Election, if it is contested.
The Elections Department (ELD) said on Monday (Jul 24) that it will increase the number of polling stations from 1,097 to 1,264.
With 167 – or 15 per cent more – polling stations, the number of voters allocated to each station will go down from an average of 2,400 to 2,150 people.
In addition, polling stations will have more registration and ballot paper counters to reduce voters’ waiting times, said ELD. It expects the number of active election officials to go up from 30,000 to 36,000.
These improvements draw on the lessons from the 2020 General Election, ELD said.
In 2020, voting time was extended to 10pm on polling day as long queues and delays at some stations meant that some voters could not vote by the original closing time of 8pm.
ELD said then that delays in the voting process were due to insufficient resources at large polling stations and COVID-19 precautions such as temperature taking and hand sanitising. A requirement to don gloves was dropped early on to reduce wait time.
Voters will also have a more convenient way to check online for the queue situation at their polling station. They will be able to visit the voting queue status website by scanning a QR code on their poll card, which will be mailed to them after Nomination Day, if the election is contested.
ELD is also replacing the X-pen, which was introduced in GE2020, with the X-stamp. ELD said that most voters used the X-pen correctly – by stamping it on the ballot paper – but some voters mistook the X-pen to be an actual pen and tried to write a cross with it.
To avoid any confusion, the X-stamp is “wider and more clearly intended to serve as a stamp”.