Uva Provincial Council Elections 2014 Election Day Communiqué No. 3

Download this report in Tamil here.

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20 September 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka: Election day saw a high number of voters in both the Badulla and  Moneragala districts. News reports quoting election officers reported voter turnout at 50% in the Badulla district and 44% in the Moneragala district at midday. In the 2009 Uva Provincial Council election, 70.03% of the registered votes were polled. Although official confirmation of the final voter turnout of today’s poll is not available at the time of writing, mid-day news reports indicate participation could be at similar levels.

The following table highlights incidents as reported by the Police on Election Day.

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The day was marked with 6 major incidents, which included assault, threats and intimidation. These included the use of firearms and dangerous weapons. One incident occurred within the premises of the Bandarawela police station. There were however no reported arrests at the time of writing.

It has to be noted that there were no reports of incidents of murder or grievous hurt on Election Day. However there was widespread abuse of state resources and violation of election law that occurred in the lead up to the polls and on Election Day.

CMEV was concerned about issues related to the presentation of identification documents that could impact the exercise of the franchise. As a result, CMEV responded positively to the request by the Elections Commissioner to support mobile clinics organized by the Department of Elections to issue special identity cards in the Badulla district.

Some key trends from polling day include:

  • The heavy presence of politicians across parties and their supporters from outside of the Uva Province, was evident in both the Badulla and Moneragala districts. Several serious incidents reported allegedly involved UPFA politicians and their supporters from outside the Uva province.
  • The overwhelming majority of ‘major incidents’ on polling day were reported from the Badulla District.
  • A majority of election law violations, including transporting voters to polling stations were reported from the Moneragala district.
  • All physical attacks reported to CMEV were attacks against politicians and party cadre.
  • Intimidation and pressuring of voters was used to either influence or prevent voting.
  • Illegal campaigning (graffiti/posters and other propaganda material/vehicles bearing names and/or preference numbers of candidates) was regularly seen near polling stations as well as elsewhere, despite the 13,000 police personnel deployed.
  • Voters were not allowed to cast their ballot on account of non-possession of polling cards.

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Methodology: CMEV records incidents of murder, attempted murder, assault, abduction, arson, robbery, grievous hurt and threats and intimidation and ‘major’ incidents while damage to property, threats, mischief and violation of election law are recorded as ‘minor’ incidents.