Sri Lanka’s election monitor, Center for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission that some Grama Niladharis, especially in the Colombo District, are tampering with registered voter lists.
The election monitor has written to the Election Commission that they have learned through reliable persons, the certain Grama Niladharis, especially in the Colombo District, have arbitrarily removed the names of long-standing residents from their respective voter lists.
Since these householders have duly completed the voter registration forms for 2018 accurately and in time, and since they have been on the voter lists at the same residential address for many years and have voted in all of the elections during the past decade and more, they were shocked and dismayed to learn that their names had been deleted from the relevant registered voter list for the residence they have occupied uninterrupted for many years. On inquiry they were informed that there is nothing that can be done at this stage, even though they were not provided with any reasons for the deletion of their names.
The CMEV pointed out that this unacceptable situation is further exacerbated by the fact that the online voter list on the official website of Election Commission is not currently functioning.
The CMEV said individual voters have lodged complaints with the Elections Commission, and requested the Commission to make a formal public response to the allegations that they have made.
The election monitor said specifically, it is incumbent on the EC to publicly clarify the following in order to mitigate the lack of credibility in the system that this has generated, especially among older voters who are unable to visit the Elections Secretariat to verify if their names are still on the list:
-Provide an explanation for the exclusion of these names from the relevant voter lists, and make sure that there is a redress mechanism that will permit them to vote on the 16th.
-Explain the due process by which errant Grama Niladharis are to be held accountable for these deliberate omissions. -Ensure that the online voter registration list is operational with immediate effect
“Given the urgency of the situation and the need for immediate redress to ensure that the affected persons are not deprived of their franchise, we urge you to inform the general public as well by way of extensive publicity in all the appropriate channels,” the CMEV wrote.