Local Government Elections are being held throughout the island and so far voting has been peaceful except for one incident. The Elections Secretariat has established a special unit to report any election malpractice or threats during the polling.
Polling will be closed at 4.00 p.m. and according to the Election Secretariat, counting will begin as soon as all ballot boxes are received at the respective counting centres. It is expected that all results will be out by early morning tomorrow.
234 Local Government bodies will have 3,036 elected members at this election, the Elections Commissionerís Department said.
Elections are being held in 7,396 polling stations. The Local Government authorities in the fray today include three Municipal Councils, 30 Urban Councils and 202 Pradeshiya Sabhas.
The counting will be carried out at around 1,000 counting centres. Several counting centres have also been established to count postal votes which will take place first. The first election result will be released by midnight today or early morning tomorrow, the Elections Commissionerís Office said.
Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake yesterday advised voters to cast their vote to a political party or an independent group of their choice first, as a ballot paper without a vote is deemed invalid.
A total of 9,813,375 people are eligible to cast their vote today while over 80,000 government employees are on election duty. The Elections Commissioner has deployed over 70,000 police personnel for election duty.
The Army is also deployed to assist the police to prevent possible incidents at polling stations.
Special Task Force (STF) officials are also deployed at polling stations where certain incidents had been reported during earlier elections. STF contingents have been dispatched to particular centres where violent incidents could be expected. The police along with the STF will provide protection to District Counting Centres, Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake said.
The Elections Commissioner rejected 452 out of 2,047 nomination papers in terms of the Local Authorities Election Ordinance. Local Government elections will not be held in 64 electorates as political parties filed writ applications in the Court of Appeal against the rejection of their nomination papers by the Department. Thirty-four Local Government authorities including the Colombo Municipal Council have not been scheduled for election.
Election for the two local Government bodies namely Puthukudiyirupu and Maritime Pattu Pradeshiya Sabhas in the Mullaitivu district were postponed due to voters not being resettled as the area is dotted with landmines.