The question is what were the ballot boxes doing (secreted?) in a separate room, presumably separated from the rest of the boxes that were eventually collected by the contractor for disposal?
At this point of time, there is no way to determine what happened to the ballot papers which they must have contained. But there are several questions which should be answered by the relevant officials in charge. Are there any official signatures or codes on the boxes to determine and verify their authenticity? Whose signatures should be on the boxes? Chan CS has provided no details in Parliament. IMO, one instance may be explained away as an isolated case, but when there are FIVE other instances in FIVE other different counting centres, can he afford to be so incurious and dismissive about it? Does this not strike him as odd? What were the circumstances surrounding the five other ‘discoveries’? Were the ballot boxes also found ‘hidden’ in rooms like the first case? While a swallow does not a summer make, but when there are FIVE others can Chan take the matter so lightly? In total, how many filled voting slips/ballot papers did all the boxes found once contained?
Surely, the ‘counting’ protocol must have included a way to counter-check and trace back via records made, whether the emptied ballot boxes had indeed been processed in the normal way – i.e. duly emptied at the counting table and the ballots in them counted. Indeed, isn’t it possible at all to establish that the ballot boxes found were genuine ones collected from the voting centres and despatched to the counting centres?
In the absence of more information and transparency, the possibility of foul play should not be ruled out as we know how close the voting was between the front runners, the two Dr Tans.
Finally, isn’t it surprising that the people in charge of the premises involved had apparently not bothered or made any attempt to report the existence of the ballot boxes on their premises to the Election Dept or the police all this while? Can they justifiably plead ignorance about the existence of the ballot boxes right under their noses, figuratively speaking? As it happened, it was left to an outsider to finally publicize the existence of these boxes in a room of a school used as a counting centre.
One final point. Goh Meng Seng in his blog ( http://singaporealternatives.blogspot.sg/2013/09/electoral-system-under-scrutiny.html) said that NO NEW BOXES should be used to hold the counted votes. According to Goh, the rules says that the counted votes should be returned to their original boxes and resealed. Is this correct?
With so many unanswered questions is it safe to accept Chan CS’s claim that there had been no lapses?