Monday, 13 July 2020 08:07

Postal voting from today as EC Chairman says polls will go ahead

Amidst growing concerns over the escalating COVID-19 situation in the country, Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday assured the elections would go ahead as planned.

“Unless the Earth stops spinning, we will go ahead with the election,” Deshapriya told reporters after he met with officials of the District Secretariat at Gampaha to discuss election arrangements.

He said the EC had made all arrangements to hold the election with COVID-19 safety rules in place.

“We have done our part of the work. Curbing the spread of COVID-19 is up to others,” he said.

The EC Chairman’s remarks came as the first phase of the Parliamentary Elections gets underway today with the commencement of postal voting, which will continue till 17 June.

Over 700,000 State sector workers have applied for postal voting this year. A total of 705,037 had applied for postal voting of which 705,085 were accepted while 47,430 were rejected, the EC said.

The application had been rejected for various reasons including inaccuracies in filing forms, inadequate information, etc.

Postal voting for staff of offices of the Medical Officer of Health (MOH), who are assigned the task of supervising compliance with health guidelines on COVID-19 at work stations where postal voting will take place starting tomorrow till Friday (17 July), will cast their votes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.

Marking of postal votes for other State sector employees will take place over the next four days.

Those who fail to mark their postal voting on the assigned days due to unavoidable circumstances can do so on 20 and 21 July at the Election office of the district where the certifying officer of their application is located.

The EC emphasised that postal voting must be conducted in keeping with the COVID-19 guidelines, such as social distancing, wearing face masks and hand sanitisation while voters were also encouraged to bring a black or blue pen to mark the ballot paper.

Those who are unable to cast their postal vote on these dates can do so on 20 and 21 July at the District Election Offices in the district where their workplace is situated.

State officers who would be engaged in election duties, public officials engaged in essential services and personnel of the armed forces, Police and Civil Defence Force are entitled to postal voting.

(FT)

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