Voter registration delayed, complaints rise

By Mirudhula Thambiah

The Elections Commissioner will use the 2009 electoral register for the upcoming local government elections, if they are held before May next year, a senior official of the Department said. Deputy Elections Commissioner W.W.M Deshapriya told the Sunday Times that the 2010 register will be made use of only if the elections are held after May.

Mr. Deshapriya said that if people have not received their voter registration forms, they can write to the relevant District Assistant Elections Commissioner to obtain their forms.

He said that since the voter registration forms for 2010 took some time to be distributed to the relevant grama niladharis, enumerators and the grama niladharis had to start their distribution of voter registration forms only from mid-June.

Mr. Deshapriya’s remarks came amidst concerns from residents that the completed forms have not been collected from houses in various parts of the country, though the usual deadline is August. He said that the date for the collection of the completed forms has been extended until the first week of October in the Colombo district and the Northern Province.

Some of the households in the Colombo district have not received their voter registration forms and in some places the grama niladharis have not collected the completed forms, according to Rohana Hettiarachchi, Director of the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL).

He said some of the people living in rented houses have not yet received their forms while in some cases the house owners have refused to register their names.

Ceylon Workers Congress president Deputy Minister P. Muthu Sivalingam told the Sunday Times that he received complaints from up country areas regarding the distribution of the voter registration forms.

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