Centre for Policy Alternatives on 25 March, 2010

Sri Lanka Parliamentary Election 2010: Postal Voting, Media Communiqu? 2

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25th March 2010,
Colombo, Sri Lanka:
CMEV is deeply concerned by reports
alleging attempts to disenfranchise postal voters by officials in their
capacity as certifying officers in particular.

CMEV deployed 185 Mobile Monitors and 150 Stationary Monitors today
(25 March 2010) to monitor the postal voting and intends to have the
same deploy tomorrow.

CMEV recorded 25 postal voting related incidents today. As of 24th March CMEV has recorded a cumulative total of 192 incidents including
121 Major Incidents.

The Major Incidents related to the postal voting are highlighted
below:

Sabaragamuwa Province

Zonal Education Office, Warakapola

On 24th March CMEV received a complaint from Dedigama UNP
party office alleging that 05 non- government employees were included in
the list of postal voters. According the list M.P.Jayaweera of 4th Regiment, Palali, has been named as the certifying officer.

On 25th CMEV contacted a voter who was named in the above
list.  He stated that he is not a government employee and that he was
not aware of how his name came to be included on the postal voting list.
He suspects that someone has intentionally done this in order to deny
his voting rights, as he is a UNP supporter.

When contacted Mr.Jayaweera informed CMEV that he is a government
teacher at Nivatuwa Maha Vidyalaya and that he had also applied for
postal voting and marked his postal vote at Zonal Education Office,
Warakapola today. He further explained that he came to know about the
incident yesterday through the Grama Niladhari of his division and that
his forged signature has been used in the application.

CMEV contacted P.A. Senaratne, Assistant Election Commissioner of
Kegalle District. He informed CMEV that mistakenly their names were
replaced with similar names of government employees. He said that they
have been identified and that postal ballots were not sent to them. He
further assured CMEV that he has taken measures to make arrangements for
them to cast their votes on 08th April.

On 25th March at around 03.10 pm, CMEV contacted the
Kegalle District Returning Officer, Mrs.D.M.P.Dissanayake on this
account. She informed CMEV that she came to know about the incident
yesterday evening and they have started an investigation into the
matter. She also said that the perpetrators are yet to be identified.

CMEV will raise the issue with the Election Commissioner and urge him
to ensure a detailed investigation into the incident.

Rambukana Pradeshiya Sabah

According to the CMEV Monitor, as of 11.30 am, a double
cab(252-6894), a tipper( CP LC 9201) and a van(SB TA 4399) were parked
within the premises of Rambukana PS. The vehicles were decorated with
the propaganda material of UPFA candidate Kanaka Herath(candidate no
04). Fifty –two (52) postal votes were registered at the centre.

Central Province

Leminiar Tami Vidyalayam,Nuwara-Eliya

On 25th March, CMEV received reports regarding an alleged
attempt to deny voters’ rights in Nuwara-Eliya.

According to two teachers of Leminiar Tamil Vidyalaya, namely
Saraswathi Pawani and Mrs.Rajakumran, they did not receive their postal
ballots though they had applied for postal voting. They alleged that the
Principal of the School did not submit their applications as they are
supporters of National Union of Workers, an ally of UNP.

A.Nagarajah a UNP Member of the Kotagala Pradeshiya Sabha informed
CMEV that the two  teachers were the only postal voters who did not
receive postal ballots. He alleges that the principal did this on
purpose to deny UNF voters of the franchise.

CMEV contacted the Zonal Education Office, Nuwara-Eliya,
B.Dharmasisiri Ranasinghe, an administrative officer of the department.
He told CMEV that they were not sent postal ballots because their
applications had not been received.

Uva Province

Mahiyangana Zonal Education Office: At around 03.35
pm CMEV Field Monitor reported that 245 applications for postal voting
were rejected by the respective Zonal Education Director, Mr.Susil
Wijeyatilaka due to late submission.

CMEV contacted Susil Wijetilaka who informed CMEV that he received
applications from staff until 26th of February and due to the
transportation problems he was unable to submit the applications on the
due date. He further stated that he informed the Assistant Election
Commissioner’s Office on 26th February that he was unable to
handover the applications on the due date and an officer instructed him
to send the applications by post. Mr.Susil Wijetialka
has sent the applications by post, they were rejected and he has no
record of who he spoke to.

CMEV contacted A.T.M.Talangama, Assistant Election Commissioner of
the Badulla District. He stated that they acted according the rules and
that the deadlines given by the Election Commissioner and the Director
of Mahiyangana Zonal Education Office was responsible for his delay.

CMEV has learnt that most of the applicants have applied for election
duty and might lose their right to vote.

Western Province

Maharagama Urban Council

At around 01.00 pm, CMEV Field Monitor reported that UPFA candidate
Sudharman Radaliyagoda(candidate no 05) and a group of supporters
wearing T-Shirts and Caps displaying the candidate’s number were seen
within the premises of the Council.

At around 01.20 pm, R.A.Somawathi, Certifying Officer of the centre,
informed CMEV that they were present in the morning and that she had
instructed them to leave the premises.  She further stated that since
she was inside the building, she was not aware of whether they have
entered again . She assured CMEV that she would look into the matter.

Forest Department Head Office, Malabe

On 25th March, the CMEV Field Monitor reported that 19
postal vote applications were rejected due to their late submission.

Eastern Province

CMEV Field Monitors reported that they found the tops of ballot paper
envelopes stuck in several postal voting centres.  CMEV recorded 02
instances from the Paddiruppu electorate and 01 incident from the
Batticaloa electorate.

CMEV contacted the Assistant Election Commissioner of Batticaloa, T.
Krishnanandalingam. He informed CMEV that this was a mistake and that
they had deployed a mobile team to re-issue valid envelopes to postal
voters.

Kinniya Urban Council

At around 11.10 am, CMEV Field Monitor reported that a black
Pajero(WP C-655) displaying the beetle symbol and candidate no 07 was
parked inside the premises of Kinniya PS. Seventeem (17) postal votes
were registered at the centre.

Southern Province

Sooriyawewa Police Station

According to the CMEV Field Monitor all postal voting applications of
the Sooriyawewa Police Station have been rejected by the certifying
officer B.G.S.Sumanasinghe, OIC of the Sooriyawewa Police Station, on
grounds of late submission. An officer attached to the Hambantota
Assistant Election Commissioner’s office confirmed the incident.

Bopey-Poddala Pradeshiya Sabah

At around 12.40 pm, CMEV Field Monitor reported that supporters of
UPFA candidates namely Rev.Baddegama Samitha(candidate no 09) and
Piyasena Gamage(candidate no 03) and UNP candidate Wijyapala
Hettiarachchi(candidate no 11) were campaigning for their respective
candidates using the public addressing system near the Bopey-Poddala
Pradeshiya Sabha. They came in separate vehicle convoys. CMEV Field
Monitor has identified two vehicles as follows;

A cab (WPC 100299) belonging to Piyasena Gamage

A three-wheel (SP GE 2660) belonging to Wijayapala Hettiarachchi