Election Commission, Election Secretariat, Sarana Mawatha, Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka. 10107
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FAQ: ELECTIONS

Answer:-

Presidential Elections

(i)  Not Less than one month and not more than two month before the expiry of the term of office (i.e 5 years) of the President in office or

(ii) When the President requests the mandate of the people after the expiry of 4 years in office.

 

Parliamentary General Elections

(i)  After the expiry of the 5 year term of office or

(ii) When Parliament is dissolved 4 years and 9 months after its first sitting.

 

Provincial Councils Elections

(i)  The term of office of Provincial Councils is 5 years, and at the expiry of this period or

(ii) If the Provincial Governor dissolves the Provincial Council.

 

Local Authorities Elections

(i)  At the expiry of the term of office of 5 years or

(ii) When the Provincial Governor dissolves a local authority.

 

Referendum

When  the President directs to seek public opinion.

 

Election Commission conducts 5 types of elections. They are

Qualifications

The candidate,

  1. 1. Should be a Sri Lankan citizen
  2. 2. Should be over 35 years of age
  3. 3. Should be an eligible elector or should possess qualifications to be an elector
  4. 4. Should not be a person subject to disqualifications under the Article 91 of the Constitution (The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka)
  5. 5. Should be an eligible citizen, if he/she is coming from a political party and if nominated by any other political party or by an elector he/she should be a sitting member of Parliament or had been a Member of Parliament previously.
  6. 6. Should not be a person elected to the office of the President twice by the people.

 

Disqualifications

  1. 1. Lack of any of the above qualifications
  2. 2. A person subject to disqualifications under Article 91 of the Constitution (The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka)
  3. 3. A person subject to disqualifications under the Article 89 of the Constitution (The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka)

Reasons to reject nomination papers by the Election Commission at the time of handing over papers are given in the Section 15 of the Presidential Elections Act No 15 of 1981 (Presidential Elections Act, No 15 of 1981)

Qualifications

The candidate ,

  1. 1. Should be a Sri Lankan Citizen
  2. 2. Should have completed the age of 18 years
  3. 3. Should be an eligible elector
  4. 4. Should not be a person subject to disqualifications under the Article 91 of the Constitution (The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka)
  5. 5. Should not be a person subject to disqualifications under the Parliamentary Election Act 1 of 1981 (relevant disqualifications are given below)

 

Disqualifications

  1. 1. Till 7 years from the date of conviction under offences relating to ballot papers (subsections (a) to (p) of Section 66)
  2. 2. Till 7 years from the date of conviction by a court of law for corrupt practices of personation, treating, undue influence, bribing, making false statements of fact in relation to the personal character of a candidate.
  3. 3. Till 3 years from the date of conviction for illegal practices given in the Parliamentary Elections Act.

Reasons to reject nomination papers by the Returning Officer at the time of handing over nomination papers are given in the Section 19 of the Parliamentary Elections Act No 1 of 1981 (Parliamentary Elections Act, No 01 of 1981 - Available only in Sinhala)

Qualifications

The candidate

  1. 1. Should be a Sri Lankan Citizen
  2. 2. Should have completed the age of 18 years
  3. 3. Should be an eligible elector, i.e he/ she should be qualified to become an elector
  4. 4. Should not be a person subject to disqualifications in Sub Articles (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) of the Article 91 of the constitution. (The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka)
  5. 5. Should not be a person subject to disqualifications under the Provincial Councils Election Act No 9 of 1988 (relevant disqualification are given below)

 

Disqualifications

  1. 1. Disqualifications indicated in the Constitution
  2. 2. Till 7 years from the date of conviction by a court of law under offences relating to ballot papers (Sub Section (a) to (p) of Section 66)
  3. 3. Until any disqualification under Local Authorities (Imposition of civic disabilities (No 1) Law, Act No 38 of 1978 and Local Authorities (Imposition of civic disabilities No 2), Act No 39 of 1978, exist.
  4. 4. When a person has been subjected to civic disability under Article 81 of the Constitution and until such disability exists.
  5. 5. Seven years have not lapsed after being convicted for the offence of violating the maintenance of secrecy of ballot (Section 77)
  6. 6. Till 3 years from the date of conviction by a Court of law for corrupt practices of personation, treating, undue influence and bribing (Sections 78-82)
  7. 7. Till 3 years from the date of conviction by courts for publishing false statements in news papers(Section 85) granting. Illegal employment, having been convicted for illegal practices of advertising without the name of the publisher or printer on the, face of the advertisements.

Reasons to reject nomination papers by the Returning Officer at the time of handing over nomination papers indicated in Section 17 of Provincial Councils Election Act No 2 of 1988 are given below (Provincial Councils Elections Act, No 02 of 1988 - Available only in Sinhala)

Qualifications

The candidate

  1. 1. Should be a Sri Lankan citizen
  2. 2. Should have completed the age of 18 years
  3. 3. Should be an eligible elector. i.e should have qualifications to become an elector
  4. 4. Should not be a person subject to disqualifications in Sub Articles (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) of the Article 91 of the Constitution (The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka)
  5. 5. Should be a resident in the relevant local authority area
  6. 6. Should not be a person subject to any disqualification indicated in Local Authorities Election Ordinance (Cap-262)

 

Disqualifications

  1. 1. Being an employee of the relevant local authority or has failed to leave the local authority one year before the first day of nominations
  2. 2. Seven years have not lapsed after getting convicted for any of the corrupt practices such as personation, treating, undue influence, bribery, making false statements of fact in relation to the personal character of a candidate (Sub sections 82(a) to (m) (He can neither be an elector)
  3. 3. Three years have not lapsed after being convicted for illegal practices such as agreements violating election laws, making or transmitting false statements through print or electronic media or giving employment, violating election laws.
  4. 4. Five years have not lapsed after being convicted and punished for the breach of maintaining secrecy at elections (Section 77), corrupt practices with regard to nomination papers and ballot papers (Section 78), committing prohibited acts on the poll day (Section 81A) exhibiting materials such as hand bills, notices during an election period (Section 81B), plural voting (Section 82), personation (Section 82C), treating (Section 82B) making false statements through news papers or electronic media (Section 82H) giving illegal employment (Section 82I); printing distributing or pasting publications without exhibiting the name of the publisher on the face of such material (Section 82 J). Members not tallying with the Act. Reasons to reject nomination papers by the Returning Officer at the time of handing over papers are giving in the Section 31 of the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance (Cap 262 Amended) 

If the public servant is an executive officer he/ she has to resign from Public Service before handing over nomination papers. If he/she is not an Executive Officer he/ she has to obtain no-pay leave from the date of nominations up to the conclusion of the election

Members of three armed services, police personnel, government and central bank employees  who would be engaged in election duties, employees of the Department of Prisons and of essential services

No, not into the polling station premises. If he/she is travelling in his/her own vehicle or in a hired vehicle, he/she should stop the vehicle ½ km ahead of the polling station and walk to the station. It is therefore desirable to use public transport. However, disabled persons can obtain vehicle permits after making an application to the Returning Officer 7 days before the poll and go to polling stations in the vehicle permitted

It is mandatory that the elector should carry one of any identity documents i.e National Identity Card (NIC)  or documents approved by the Election Commission such as the valid passport, valid driving license, senior citizens identity card, government pensioners' identity card, identity card issued to clergy, temporary identity card issued by the Election Commission through Grama Niladhari. It is advisable to carry the official poll card which will be convenient to the elector as well as the poll staff. So, carry it as well

Yes; Four officers carry out the following duties

  1. 1. The first officer examines the identity document National Identity Card (NIC), valid Passport, valid driving license, Identity card issued to clergy, government pensioners' identity card or senior citizens' identity card, temporary identity card issued by the Election Commission through Grama Niladhari) and tallies the persons face with the photograph in the identity document and if he is satisfied about identity, he directs the elector to the second officer.
  2.  

  3. 2. Second officer asks for the official poll card carried by the elector, finds out his/ her name in the electoral register and asks the name of the elector and announces the name and the serial number of the elector loudly. If there is no objection he directs the elector to the next officer.
  4.  

  5. 3. Third officer examines the little finger of the left hand of the elector and applies indelible ink round the little finger. If the elector refuses applying indelible ink he/she will not be able to cast vote. After applying ink, the next officer will issue a ballot paper to the voter.

 

You have to go to the covered cubicle with the ballot paper and mark the vote to the party or group of your choice and mark your preferences to not more than the number of candidates required who are identified by the serial numbers given to them. The voter should properly fold the ballot paper into two or if necessary into four and put it into the ballot box

Voters,  poll officers, security personnel assigned to the station. Assistant Returning Officers, polling agents, approved poll observers, candidates and in the case of Provincial Councils only, the secretaries of political parties

Senior Presiding Officer or any other officer on his behalf, will explain only the manner of voting to those voters who could see but do not know how to mark a ballot paper. The voters who cannot mark the paper with his/ her hand due to blindness or physical disability are allowed to accompany a person to the polling station. These voters should bring a letter issued by the Grama Niladhari and certified by Government Medical Officer. After duly establishing the identity of the voter, the assisting person of the voter can mark the vote at the cubicle in front of the Senior Presiding Officer and another member of the poll staff. When a visually impaired voter is not accompanied with an assisting person the Senior Presiding Officer will go to the cubicle with the voter along with another officer, inquires from the voter and marks the vote according to will of the voter in front of the other officer, as has been done at previous elections, though there is no mention in the Act, of such situation

Postal voting facility is provided to those who are unable to personally go to the polling station and cast vote due to duties related to the election i.e government officers/ servants, officers of statutory boards and corporations, drivers and vehicle assistants of institutions engaged in election duties, employees of Sri Lanka Railways, Sri Lanka Transport Board and members of security forces and the police. These employees are provided with the facility of receiving and marking the ballot paper through a certifying officer.  They are the postal voters.

As the official poll card is delivered at least a week ahead of the poll such situation should immediately be informed to the District Elections Office and get it rectified after forwarding relevant documents. This requirement has to be complied.

 

Although necessary amendments could not be effected before the poll day such voter can explain matters to the poll staff at the polling station and get the ballot paper. The poll staff will inquire from you about the difference and if necessary you will be asked to fill a declaration form. It is advisable, such voters go to the polling station early and mark the ballot.

 

if you are the genuine voter, and if you are denied of the ballot paper by the Senior Presiding Officer even after establishing your identity, please inform the Election Officer or the Coordinating Centre at the Divisional Secretariat or the Assistant Returning Officer  supervising the polling station or the Grama Niladhari of the area.

 

All this could be done, only if you go to the polling station early.

An elector in front of whose name a short line is drawn in the Electoral Register which says that he/she has already cast vote, cannot be issued with the ordinary ballot paper when he/she goes to the polling station and asks for a ballot paper. Identity of such elector is examined and if it is satisfied that he/she had not cast the vote. The Senior Presiding Officer will issue a ballot paper from the blue colour ballot paper book after obtaining a declaration. This is the tendered ballot paper which is issued only by the Senior Presiding Officer and not by any polling officer in the polling station.

 

Tendered Ballot papers are counted only under a court order

 

Issuing of tendered ballot papers is almost rare today, because the identity card is made mandatory and polling agents are very much vigilant.

 

Voters who have not applied for postal voting facility but included in the postal voters register are also issued with tendered ballot papers.

The official poll card is sent by post to every voter in advance. If a voter has applied for postal voting facility and if such application has been accepted, it is mentioned in the official poll card. It is therefore essential that if a voter has not applied for postal voting, yet indicated as a postal voter, to immediately inform the Grama Niladhari of the area and the District Elections Office. Remedial action will then be taken, but nothing can be done if delayed

If the voter has not applied for postal voting facility, he/she should ask the Senior Presiding Officer to check with the postal voters' register. If his/ her name does not appear in the postal voters register he/she can exercise the vote.

 

If his/her name appears in the postal voters register he/she is considered a postal voter and he/ she is issued with only a tendered ballot paper, i.e the blue colour ballot paper.

 

Applying for postal voting facility by another person is reported when there are voters who have the same name/ same Vasagama or when  members of one family carry almost similar names and as a result the postal vote applications are filled with mistaken information. This has happened in the past and the persons concerned have been educated at such occasions.

When a voter is abroad it is mentioned in the official poll card which is sent to every voter that the "voter reported abroad".

 

When such voter goes to the polling station it is necessary that he/she carries the valid passport with him/her which will prove that he/she had been abroad and now returned.

 

If the passport is not in possessing at the time of going to cast vote you can prove your identity by any other valid identity document and you can get a normal ballot paper. When the returnee-voters do not possess the passports at the time, they can inform the Grama Niladhari and go to the polling station early. At the polling station you can explain the matter to the Senior Presiding Officer and answer his queries and get a ballot paper after completing declaration forms, if necessary. If the issue of the ballot paper is refused it should be immediately complained to the Grama Niladhari/ Coordinating Officer of the Divisional Secretariat/ Assistant Returning Officer in charge of supervision of the polling station / District Elections Office. All this could be done only if you go to the polling station early.

 

If any voter who had never been abroad receives the official poll card with the endorsement "abroad" he/ she should inform immediately to the Grama Niladhari/ District Elections Office.

 

If this could not be informed early as mentioned above he/she should inform the Grama Niladhari before going to the polling station.

 

If he/ she is advised to fill a declaration form at the polling station he/ she should comply.

 

If such voter is still having a difficulty in casting vote he/ she should immediately inform the Grama Niladhari/ Coordinating Officer of the Divisional Secretariat/ Asistant Returning Officer supervising the polling station/ District Elections Commissioner

Every Voter receives an official poll card before the poll day. An endorsement "Reported dead" is made in the official poll card about those reported dead.

 

If the endorsement is incorrect, he/she can inform the Grama Niladhari of the area and the District Election office Corrective measures will be taken immediately.

 

If this could not be informed on time it is advised to inform Grama Niladhari and go to the polling station with the national Identity card.

 

When the Senior Presiding Officer is informed he will establish the identity and a ballot paper will be issued after obtaining a declaration form signed, if necessary.

 

If there is further difficulty, it is advised to contact Grama Niladhari or coordinating officer at the Divisional Secretariat or Assistant Returning Officer in charge of the supervision of the polling station, or the District Elections Office

After the closure of the poll at 4pm Senior Presiding Officer of each polling station will collect the ballot box/ boxes with marked ballot papers and other printed envelops under police security and hand over to the Assistant Returning Officer at the receiving hall. Counting will commence after the start time given to the political parties/ independent groups. When there are reports received about disturbances in polling stations, such votes will not be counted and will be re-polled later. Counting is conducted at District Secretariats (Kachcheris) or in government buildings such as technical colleges and schools. Generally the ballot boxes of about 10 polling stations (about 10,000-12,000 votes) are counted in one counting hall.

 

An Assistant Returning Officer (senior government staff officer) is in charge of the count. There are about 8 other Assistant Returning Officers and about 40 other support staff are assigned to each counting hall. Contesting political parties and independent groups are allowed to appoint 5 agents each to observe the count. For postal vote counting centers only 2 observers each are allowed.

 

Counting of votes is in three stages

Stage one

Ballot Boxes received from polling stations are opened separately. Number of ballot papers in each box is counted and recorded. The counted ballot papers are dropped into the trough and mixed from time to time. All ballot boxes are opened and ballot papers are counted. End of stage one.

 

Stage two

In the 1st sub stage of stage two, ballot papers in the trough are brought on to the table where the counting officers are seated. All officers sort the ballot papers according to the symbols of each party and group and put in the receptacles allocated to each party/ group. In the 2nd sub stage of stage two, the counting table is divided into 5 parts.  Receptacles of ballot papers separated to each party/ group are taken individually and the next group of officers re-sort the sorted ballot papers and the next group counts those ballot papers and bundles them into 50s. The number of ballot papers in each bundle is checked for the number and symbol and re-checked. The number polled by each party/ group is counted and the result is obtained. If the counting agents request for re-counting, two re-counts are given.

 

Stage three

Ballot papers of each party/ group are taken separately and 1 preference/ 2 preferences/ 3 preferences are marked on tally sheet forms. After marking the preferences, two summary sheets are prepared. Preferences of all candidates entered. End of the count.

 

Number of votes obtained by each party/ group and the number of preferences obtained by each candidate are prepared as two reports and handed over to the centre for declaration of results established under the District Returning Officer.

 

Declaration of results

Results are tabulated and after the receipt of counting reports from all counting centers, firstly the number of votes obtained by each party and group are calculated. The number of members according to the ratios of numbers of votes is determined, and the result is declared. Then the numbers of preferences are calculated and lists prepared and the names of members elected according to the preferences they have obtained, are declared