Every Voter who is registered in the Electoral Register gets qualified to cast vote at Presidential Elections, Parliamentary Elections, Provincial Councils Elections, Local Authorities Elections and Referenda. Although every citizen is entitled for franchise, it can be exercised only if the name is entered in the Electoral Register
Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council enforced of September 26, 1946 provided legal provisions for the registration of electors and to conduct Parliamentary Elections. Basic requirements for the registration of electors were elaborated in the section 4 of the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council, 1946. Except for the age requirement of 21 years, all other qualifications were the same as of today. In the initial stages, registration officers and revision officers ware appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs by name or by office for the purpose of registration of electors and one or more officers were appointed by name or by office to assist them.
In the year 1954, the electors were enumerated on the basis of the assessment number or the food control number and one or several forms were used for every house. A form was introduced for the enumeration in urban areas in the year 1957 and the house holder had to place his signature on the form.
A significant changing In the qualifications of an elector took place in the year 1959. The age of the elector was brought down from 21 to 18 years by the Amendment Act No 11 of 1959.
Arranging the register in the order of house numbers commenced from electoral register certified in May 1959. This system was implemented in municipal areas of Colombo and Kandy, and in other areas the registers were prepared in the alphabetical order of the names of electors.
Enumeration of electors was carried out by Village Headmen and by special enumerators till the year 1962. After the introduction of the Grama Sevaka Service (The name given to the Grama Niladharis' Service in the beginning) the Grama Sevakas carried out this function.
The revision of the year 1967 was significant, because a special form was introduced for enumeration in the urban as well as rural areas. Householders supplied information in the form and placed the signature and the enumeration officers checked the information and placed their signatures on the form. This form was known as the Body Count form and was named as BC form taking the first letters of the two wards in English. Enumeration in the estate areas was conducted by estate superintendents and these list were checked by Grama Sevakas (Grama Niladharis were known by this name at that time) for the first time in the year 1969 and from the revision of 1980 the function of enumeration also was carried out by Grama Sevaka.
The electoral register was prepared in the English language till the year 1969 and from the year 1970 the preparation switched onto Sinhala and Tamil languages.
From the year 1981, opportunity was given to all political parties to appoint agents at the polling district level to observe the enumeration.
The Registration of Electors Act No 44 of 1980 was introduced for the purpose of registering electors in terms of the Article 101 of the 1978 Constitution.
1. The applicant should be a citizen of Sri Lanka
2. Applicant should have completed 18 years of age on February 1st of the year
3. He/ she should be a normal resident in the relevant address
4. He/ she should be a person who is not subject to the disqualifications mentioned in the Article 89 of the Constitution (Not found or declared under any law to be of unsound mind, not a person serving a sentence or had served a sentence of six months during the last seven years or not been convicted for any elections offence etc.)