Centre for Policy Alternatives on 6 April, 2010

Special Release on voter concerns: Parliamentary Election 2010

Categories:
 

6th April 2010, Colombo,
Sri Lanka
:
CMEV has received reports from the
Puttalam and Batticaloa Districts alleging preparations for voter
impersonation in the polls on the 08th. CMEV urges the
Commissioner to investigate these allegations and ensure that all action
is taken to prevent voter impersonation.

Illegal applications under displaced category in Puttalam
District

On 30th March, CMEV received a copy of the letter,
addressed to the Election Commissioner, from UNP candidate for Vanni
District Noordeen Mashoor regarding illegal voter applications under the
displaced category in the Puttalm District.

In the letter, he alleged that this was done on the instigation of
the incumbent Minister and UPFA candidate Rishard Badiudeen. The letter
mentions that most of such voters currently reside in Colombo and
Panadura. The rest are either living abroad or have died.

On contacting Noordeen Mashoor’s Office, CMEV was informed that in
centres highlighted in the letter, there was a remarkable increase in
the number of voters compared to the last presidential election.
Manalkunru(PD No.29D), Cassim city(PD No.42D/3), Veppamadu(PD No.23
D/1), Alankuda(PD No.54/D1 & 54D/2), Ulukkappallam(PD No.77D/1&
77/2), Hidayath Nagar(PD No.86D) and Thillayady(PD No.40D) in the
Puttalam District and Salampapuram (PD No.43D) in the Anurdhapura
District were highlighted in the letter.

An officer attached to Mashoor’s office told CMEV that a list
highlighting every individual’s current status has been prepared in
order to identify the illegal applications. According to him, there are
around 6,000 such voters. He also informed CMEV that the copies have
been given to the Election Commissioner and respective Returning Officer
and Assistant Election Commissioner. He said that they were awaiting
action in this regard.

On contacting the Assistant Election Commissioner and the Returning
Officer of Puttalam, CMEV learnt that they have started investigations
into the matter. On 02nd April CMEV was told by the Assistant
Election Commissioner-Puttalam Mr.A.O.M.Nafeel that in a random check
they did based on the list they received from the complainant, they
identified around 27 applications with forged signatures of Grama
Niladharis. He further explained that since they do not have an updated
list of people residing in the camps, it is difficult to compare the
lists. He also said that they did not have enough time and resources to
conduct a check on an individual basis. He stated that after the
consultation with the Commissioner, they would take a decision regarding
the mater.

On 03rd April CMEV learnt that the Commissioner issued a
notice on the issue on 02nd April. CMEV got a copy of the
notice on 04th April.

It is mentioned in the notice that 25,582 displaced voters (21,035
for Vanni and 4,547 for Jaffna) have applied under the displaced
category and they will be allowed to cast their votes in centres to be
set up in the Puttalam District.

It is further noted in the notice that the lists of displaced voters
under this category were displayed in the Puttalam and Mannar Election
Offices and in the respective Divisional Secretariats a week ago. They
subsequently received complaints from some voters in Mannar that they
did not apply under this category. Accordingly, they will be allowed to
vote in their regular polling centres in Mannar, the notice states.

It is also stated in the notice that they have identified some
applications with forged details and signatures and that in many cases
Grama Niladaris had not attested the applications.

CMEV has learnt that applications of those living abroad and deceased
were submitted with forged signatures.  This is also mentioned in the
notice.

It is explained in the notice that the Puttalam Assistant Election
Commissioner’s Department attempted to get a list of people over 18 yrs
through the respective Returning Officer. However, the lists have yet to
be submitted by the respective camp officers. Therefore, it is
difficult to conduct a fair poll in 37 centres set up in the Puttalam
District.

The notice instructs displaced voters to get their respective camp
officer and Grama Niladari to attest the form issued by the Department
of Election. However there are concerns in respect of the former since
camp officers are appointed by Rishard Badiudeen’s ministry and with the
time period available for this.

On 05th April CMEV contacted the respective Returning
Officer in this regard, he informed CMEV that the Commissioner has
issued another notice today considering all the issues. According to him
a declaration will be obtained from voters at the discretion of the
SPOs or if a polling agent objects, according to the section 43 of the
Parliamentary Elections Act. Measures will be taken to inform the people
through Grama Niladharis.

CMEV notes that this is not the first time illegal applications have
been submitted from the Puttalam District. During the Jaffna MC and
Vavuniya UC Elections, 488 such applications were found and removed by
the Election Commissioner. Moreover, the annulment of results in a
polling centre due to malpractices has also happened in the Puttalm
District in the recent past.

CMEV notes with concern the lack of preparedness for the conduct of
the polls and underscores the lack of an updated list of people residing
in the camps, though displacement occurred 20 years ago. .

CMEV calls upon the respective Returning Officer and Assistant
Election Commissioner to act fast to effectively communicate the message
to the concerned people and to remove the confusion arising from
constant changes of the procedures within a very short period.

Allegations of preparation for systematic voter impersonation

On 04th April CMEV received a copy of a letter, addressed
to the Election Commissioner on 30th March 2010, from UNP
candidate for the Batticaloa District U.L.M.N.Mubeen

He alleged, in the letter, that a UPFA candidate plans large- scale
voter impersonation using forged NICs.

The letter states that the candidate in question has visited the town
to collect the details of traders who are voters in the Batticaloa
Distric but currently residing outside the Distrixt for business
purposes. It is also alleged that the candidate has collected a copies
of the latter’s NICs for purposes of impersonation.

The letter alleges that Mr.Abdul Raheem known as Rupavahini Raheem
has been assigned the task of forging NICs and that the candidate has
engaged in impersonation in previous elections, including the last
Eastern Provincial Council Election.

The letter requests the Commissioner to inform the Police of this and
recommends that election officials from Kattankudy not be appointed to
this area.  Likewise election monitors.

CMEV reiterates its call to the Commissioner to act to ensure that
voter impersonation as alleged does not take place.

Special Release on voter concerns: Parliamentary Election 2010