The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) visited selected areas of the North and East from 22 -25 December 2009 to identify the issues pertaining to the voter application process for displaced persons, the availability of required identification documents and the general context in which the campaign is being conducted. CMEV met with Government officials, political party representatives, leading civil society actors including religious leaders, the media, academics, and displaced persons.
- CMEV notes with concern the number of applications – 31,758 – received by the Department of Elections as of 28th December. This figure could be lower since some applications may be rejected. CMEV calls on the Election Commissioner to ensure that every displaced voter who is registered in the 2008 Electoral Register will be able to vote. Considering the issues and confusion pertaining to the application process and given the assurances by senior election officials, CMEV urges the Election Commissioner to issue a special notice to the displaced voters enumerating the application procedure and requisite voter identity documentation, thereby ensuring that neither of these factors will inhibit the fullest exercise of the franchise by displaced persons. CMEV also urges the Commissioner and election officials to make sure that the displaced voters are aware of the location of cluster and special polling centres through their Grama Niladharis and Camp Officers.
- CMEV calls on the media and civil society organizations to assist the Commissioner’s office as well as through initiatives of their own, on voter education.
- CMEV calls upon the Commissioner and colleagues to establish an effective mechanism in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Transport Board to assure proper transportation facilities for displaced voters. CMEV urges the line ministry to consider this as a matter of priority and recommends that the Election Commissioner establish a special committee to look into the transportation arrangements.