To make the election system more transparent and give faster results, counting machines will be used to tally votes at the next General Election, announced the Elections Department of Singapore today at a media briefing.
With the aid of these machines, the results can be expected an hour earlier. The time taken for processing and counting 4,000 ballot papers will be reduced from three hours to up to 130 minutes.
These counting machines are like the ones that count bank notes that will speed up the counting process and improve efficiency.
Currently, the counting process involves mixing, unfolding and sorting the ballot papers into different stacks for each candidate based on voters’ choices. The ballot papers are then counted by hand.
However, when counting machines will be utilised, a counting assistant will take a pile of sorted ballot papers and use the machines to count 100 ballot papers. Then, he will pass the pile to another counting assistant for verification using another machine.
ELD said, “Each counting assistant will need to independently achieve one count of 100 before the ballot count is confirmed and ballot papers are bundled.”
ELD has also clarified that the counting machines are not electronic voting machines and are not connected to the Internet. Hard copy paper-based ballot papers will continue to be used.
It also stated that the integrity of the election process remains a topmost priority even as ELD implement new processes and use new equipment.
Election candidates and their appointed counting agents have the right to be present throughout the counting process
At the counting centres, the accuracy of the counting machines will be checked before the start of counting. Candidates and their appointed counting agents can also witness the accuracy checks of these machines, said ELD.