PAFFREL to demand use of 2005 registers
By Shelani Perera
The independent election monitoring body PAFFREL is to carry out a campaign to force the Elections Department to use the 2005 electoral register at the forthcoming local government polls instead of the 2004 register which had allegedly denied voting rights to thousands of people.

In a letter to Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake last week PAFFREL requested that the 2005 electoral register be used for the polls, as names of eligible voters were said to be have been omitted from the 2004 electoral register.

However the Commissioner had said the 2005 electoral register could be used only if the polls were held after June 2006. PAFFEREL Executive Director Kingsley Rodrigo told The Sunday Times that the organization may take legal action as it is a violation of a fundamental right of a person to vote.

“If someone turns 18 after June 1 that person may have to wait for five years to cast his vote. It’s only a few councils which have their terms lapsing in April. Delaying the elections for a few months wont affect the councils, but making use of the 2005 electoral register will definitely pave the way for democracy,” Mr. Rodrigo said.

PAFFREL is also lobbying to make production of the identity card compulsory when voting. “Not only the official ID but any form of identification certified by the grama niladhari should be acceptable.

We made this proposal to the Elections Commissioner and were informed that the matter had to be discussed with political party leaders,” he said.

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