Postal voting begins tomorrow

By Maheen Senanayake

As approximately 54,700 postal voters prepare to cast their ballot in a bid to select their next president on Dec. 22, 23, 24 and 26, CMEV led election observers will mobilize 1,000 static observers to ensure that everything is in order, Manjula Gajanayake, National Co-ordinator, Center for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) said yesterday.

Member of the police will cast their postal votes on the last day – Dec. 26 – which has been reserved for them, officials said.

Meanwhile, another 4,000 static observers who will receive a day’s training by CMEV are also being prepared to monitor 4,000 of the approximately 11,000 polling centres by the CMEV.

It will mobilize its 1,000 strong monitoring body across several categories of public organizations: Sri Lanka Transport Board depots, Zonal Education offices, police stations, Pradeshiya Sabhas and military establishments, a spokesman said. He said they have been carefully selected on their past records detailing propensity for election malpractice.

"We will also concentrate on military camps in the North", said Gajanayake. "Furthermore, we will also mobilize our existing cadre of 200 monitors on the days of postal voting."

The alternative day for postal voters who are unable to vote on the earlier dates is Dec. 30.

"Postal voting is very important as there is time between the postal voting and the date of the election for us to take up any issues pertaining to the voting with the Elections Commissioner and other authorities," the CMEV spokesman explained.

Meanwhile, the Elections Commissioner has in a landmark decision permitted election monitors at the counting centres on a proportionate system. According to the allotment the CMEV has 30% the PAFFREL 30% and CAFÉ 21% respectively of the counting centres while the remainder is divided among other monitors.

The Commissioner has also provide the necessary approvals for bodies to bring in international observers. THE CMEV has applied for 68 monitors from Nepal, India, Phillipines and Canada for which they have received approval.

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