No implications for vote secrecy: Elections Dept

Dr Tony Tan speaking at a press conference after his win in the Presidential Election 2011.

SINGAPORE - The Elections Department has lodged a police report after being alerted to the discovery of some empty ballot boxes. But it said this did not have any implications for the secrecy of the vote.

The department did not specify where the boxes were found, but an online report had said that they were in a school storeroom.

They appeared to have been used in the 2011 Presidential Election, in Bishan-Toa Payoh. Empty boxes are discarded after the elections, the department said. These were supposed to have been collected by a contractor, along with other discarded items from counting centres, for disposal.

"Discovery of used empty ballot boxes would mean that these were missed by the contractor at the point of collection for disposal," it said.

The boxes are inspected by election officials at the polling stations, before ballots are cast. After polls close, election officials seal the boxes containing the ballots and transport them under police escort to the counting centres.

There, the boxes are opened, and the ballots are poured out, sorted and counted. This is carried out in the presence of candidates or their counting agents. The empty boxes are then put aside to be collected by a contractor and disposed of.

After the election result has been announced by the Returning Officer, the ballot papers and other documents used in the election are placed in separate boxes and sealed.

They are then taken away under police escort and kept for six months at the Supreme Court. After that, they are destroyed, unless directed otherwise by an order of the President.

In a separate statement, the police said they are investigating the matter.

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