As my journalist friend J says, we should give praise to EC when they are praiseworthy, just like we must criticize them when they deserve criticism.
Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002, the by-law that governs the voter registration process, only require what I would call the “entry list” (the list of newly registered voters and voters who applied to transfer to new constituencies) in the Supplementary Electoral Roll. There is no legal requirement of what I would call the “exit list” (the list of voters who are dead or have become disqualified for registration).
This legal loophole means that names can be arbitrarily deleted and the public cannot inspect and protest any wrongful exclusion. I don’t know why the EC have not bothered to change the by-law. (This is why my praise for the EC is “qualified”.)
Nevertheless, in the published supplementary rolls, the EC actually provides also the list of the names disqualified and transferred out.
I don’t know when this practice has begun as this is probably the first time EC widely publicize the display of supplementary rolls. I don’t remember such publicity happens in 2004 or even three years ago. I think the civil society and political parties can take comfort that the EC is still somewhat sensitive to public opinion.
Technically, the EC is overstepping the by-law when it includes the list of deleted names. It should therefore move to revise the by-law as soon as possible. This is nevertheless a very positive move to improve the transparency of the electoral process. Well done, EC!
You can now search if your name has been excluded or transferred. You can raise objection or make claims to any wrongful changes. If you don’t do it now, you will have a weak case to complain later.
On a related note, a reader condemns the EC for having incomplete rolls (as they are split into the principal and supplementary rolls) and having a long lead time before voter registrations can take effect. The establishment of two separate rolls and the long lead time actually have their rationales. If there is only a single roll, voter roll verification will take more time and effort. Meanwhile, if names are certified within a week or so, there will be no time for claim, objection, hearing, appeal, etc to correct any mistakes.