The Election Commission has availed the persons with visual or physical disabilities the opportunity to be accompanied to the respective polling stations by a trusted relative or any other acquaintance and to seek assistance in casting their votes in the upcoming local government elections 2018.
This opportunity has been provided as per the existing provision in section 54(2) of the principle act by elections (Special Provisions) act no. 28 in the year 2011 for a person with complete or partial visual impairment or a person with a physical disability to be thus accompanied and assisted subject to number of conditions.
- The person who accompanies should be older than 18 years.
- The said person should not be a contestant in the election.
- He or she should not be an authorized agent or a polling agent of a political party at the election.
- The persons who thus accompanies, should not be another person with a disability.
In order to be provided with the opportunity to be thus assisted, the person with disability or someone on his or her behalf should collect the application from the respective Grama Niladhari or via the Elections Commission website and have the disability of the applicant specified by a registered / qualified medical practitioner and submit the relevant application form to the Grama Niladhari prior to the election
The applicant is subsequently issued an eligibility certificate that can be presented to the polling officers at the polling station.
The identification documents recognized as valid by the Elections commission and the eligibility certificate should be in possession of the voter with disabilities and the companion at the time they arrive at the polling station to vote.
Only the person, whose name and details have been mentioned in the eligibility certificate as the companion, could enter the polling station with the specific voter with disability.
Even if a person with a disability wishes to cast the vote but does not have a companion to assist, the senior presiding officers of the polling station have been instructed to assist such persons to cast their vote in the presence of another officer at the polling station.
As a pioneer election observing organization that has been striving to protect and promote the political and voting rights of Sri Lankans with disabilities since year 2015 along with the Enabled Elections campaign, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence continues to sensitize and keep the persons with disabilities and those advocating on their behalf consistently informed about the significant initiatives conducive for such persons in regards to the upcoming local authorities election.