The Regulation of Campaign Finances and the Electoral Process in Sri Lanka

There are numerous changes which must inevitably take place in the process of electoral reforms. One such significant sector that must be subject to change is the limitation of campaign finances.

A large number of programmes have been carried out by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence on this regard. The awareness programmes pertinent to this sector are still being conducted consistently.

As a part of these initiatives, an information pamphlet  has been released in all three languages. This pamphlet was published in collaboration with Transparency International Sri Lanka.

Download the pamphlet in EnglishSinhala and Tamil.

A guide on facilitation of voting rights for out-of-country voters

CMEV has taken a new initiative to identify and facilitate the voting rights of migrant workers in Sri Lanka that amounts to over two million persons. As one of the major contributing source to the national income through foreign revenue, the need to facilitate their inalienable right to participate in the political decision-making process has been recognized and addressed by a comprehensive document compiled with this regard. It encompasses the pertinent legal background and numerous methods utilized in other countries to avail out-of-country voters with facilities to exercise their right to vote.

Download the guide in EnglishSinhala and Tamil.

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Guide document on Political rights and Representation of Persons with disabilities and the Electoral Process

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence is the first election observing organization in Sri Lanka that spearheaded numerous initiatives beneficial to the realization of voting rights of persons with disabilities with the auspices of  the Election Commission of Sri Lanka. CMEV has produced a comprehensive document combining the disability classification, rights and entitlements of persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka and  legal provisions to facilitate their political rights in line with the electoral process of Sri Lanka.

Download the document in EnglishSinhala and Tamil.

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A recap on previous elections through cartoons

The two national level elections which were held in the year 2015 can be regarded as the elections which acquired the widest visibility and prominent attention in the recent past. While those elections were apparently referred to as free and fair in every sense, the enormous efforts taken by the relevant stakeholders to preserve the integrity of the said election should also be commended emphatically. The greatest visibility was received at the time with this regard was by the Department of Elections, Department of Police and the election monitoring organizations.

One of the predominantly noticeable trends throughout the period in which the said elections were held, was the inculcation of the role of the then Commissioner of Elections Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya in diverse ways by the print media through newspapers by way of cartoons. Undoubtedly, grasping the way in which the media operated during such a crucial period would be instrumental for anyone who is exploring the history of elections in Sri Lanka. In that regard, the elements reflected through the cartoons which appeared in the newspapers at the time, will provide invaluable insights to anybody who is investigating about the history of elections in Sri Lanka.

Access the contents of the book here.

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Enabled Election Campaign: Pamphlets and info

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CMEV as one of  the prominent Sri Lankan election monitoring organizations that realized the importance of paying special attention to equality of access in elections pertaining to the democratization process, was able to co-convene the ”Enabled Election Campaign” in partnership with several other organizations as well as voluntary activists and experts, with the view to creating a conducive environment for all persons, focusing mostly on vulnerable and marginalized groups in the community prioritizing the persons living with disabilities in relation to the electoral process.

The island-wide campaign  which was conducted last year, by the name ‘Enabled Election’ in tandem with the general Election 2015 was facilitated by CMEV whilst bringing forth an impact that involved more active participation of the persons with disabilities in voting at the election.

The purpose of the campaign was to follow up on the circular number PE 164/2015 issued by the Commissioner of Elections in May 2015 advising all the Assistant Commissioners to ensure that ‘reasonable Access’ is provided for voters living with a disability. The said campaign also became an eye-opener for the general public and the responsible state institutions regarding the rights and entitlements of the persons with disabilities and the difficulties faced by the persons with disabilities in their participation at the elections and in politics overall.

The initiative was instrumental in engaging with independent disability Rights advocates, civil society organizations, nongovernmental organizations with inclusive mandates and journalists in the process of outlining the strategy for the campaign.

The campaign focused on three (3) key areas:

  1. Invoking awareness among persons with disabilities on their rights, entitlements and responsibilities in exercising their civic duties
  2. Lobbying with mainstream political parties to recognize the concerns of the community of persons with disabilities.
  3. Lobbying with other election monitoring bodies including international observers to include disability in their election monitoring activities

Significant outcomes of the campaign were:  Drafting of a Manifesto to assert social, economic, political and cultural Rights of persons with disabilities and the task of presenting them to

  • The President of Sri Lanka and other political party leaders
  • A discussion with the Election Commissioner Mr Mahinda Deshapriya was held in order to follow up on the circular issued by the Elections Commissioner’s office in May 2015 to ensure that at Grama Niladhari level (village administrative division) persons with disabilities are informed about applying for special provisions to accessibility on elections day
  • Launching of social media campaign through Enabled Elections facebook page and twitter
  • Print media and electronic media features to communicate messages on the available provisions issued by the Elections Commissioner’s office to ensure persons with disabilities have ‘reasonable Access’ at polling stations
  • Formulating accessible information and education material (braille flyers) for persons with disabilities on their Right to vote, accessibility provisions they are entitled to at polling stations and how to lobby for same
  • Producing an informative video encouraging persons with disabilities, and their caregivers to ensure that their ‘voice is heard’ at the General Elections
  • Two awareness raising workshops (Southern Province and Eastern Province) for leaders of Disabled Peoples Organizations, persons with disabilities and caregivers on the available provisions through the Elections Commissioner’s circular, and informative session on ‘how to vote’ and extraction of recommendations/suggestions from participants to inform Enabled Elections’ follow up action after the General Elections

As a continuation of the same initiative with a brand-new and more concrete approach that opens a wider window of opportunity for many other persons living with disabilities as well as for various disability advocates in Sri Lanka, CMEV wishes to organize a series of consultative meetings in national and regional levels with the guidance and active involvement of the International foundation for Electoral Systems.

The first national consultation meeting of the series will be held at the Auditorium of International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) on the 8th of February from 9:30 P. M. till 12:00 P. M. and will be open for the interested Sri Lankans living with disabilities and for the disability advocates with substantial knowledge and field experience in the inclusive development and electoral sector.

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Download the pamphlets in English, Tamil and Sinhala.

#icanChangeSL & #wecanChangeSL: Shaping a new Sri Lanka

The Presidential poll of 8 January 2015 inspired the largest number of voters in Sri Lanka’s history to turn out to elect a new president. The #IVotedSL campaign, which went viral in the lead up to and on the day of the election, was an unprecedented effort over social media to enhance voter turnout. Thousands of Sri Lankans participated.

This new campaign seeks to build on and sustain this interest in reframing our country.

As we all know, the work to shape Sri Lanka’s future doesn’t stop with electing a new president or a new government. Change will need to involve all of us as citizens in our various positions and roles in society. There is now a vibrant public and private debate of citizens across the country (and beyond its borders) about the hopes and vision for Sri Lanka’s future. This is currently taking place on social media, traditional media and also in homes and workplaces.

The campaign encourages us all to focus on what we can do in our individual capacities, as well as what other citizens in government, opposition politics, public services, business or our own neighbourhoods can do, to bring about change for good.

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Use the hashtag (#icanChangeSL) to flag an action that you took, a resolution you have made, or an example that you personally want to follow. For example:

  • “I just refused to pay a bribe to a public official #icanChangeSL”
  • “I will speak up the next time I see a woman being harassed on the bus #icanChangeSL”
  • “I am trying to learn about other religious beliefs #icanChangeSL”

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Use the hashtag (#wecanChangeSL) to highlight an example of a positive social practice, an inspiring news story, an idea for your friends or community, or an aspiration for the country as a whole. For example:

  • “Let merit not ‘influence’ decide who gets the job #wecanChangeSL”
  • “Rather than criticizing public services, let’s suggest how to improve them (with available resources) #wecanChangeSL”
  • “Just heard of plan to establish a post A/L volunteer corps for Sri Lanka! #wecanChangeSL”.

Some people are already using the hashtag (#ChangeSL) to mark positive changes that they see taking place in the country.

This is a tool to get your views as a citizen heard, to share your ideas and get feedback. Please use it.

This country is ours to change.

Download the logos here for Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and the web.

#IVotedSL infographic: How to vote

Voting is an important civic responsibility and one way all of us exercise and enjoy our Sovereignty. This responsibility becomes particularly important during a Presidential Election, because of the immense power vested in this office.

With just a few days more for the 2015 Presidential Election, follow and support #IVotedSL, a trilingual campaign launched by Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) to encourage citizens to exercise their right to franchise.

This infographic explains how to cast your vote and what you should avoid doing to have it rejected.

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#IVotedSL infographic: Voter turnout in the region

Voting is an important civic responsibility and one way all of us exercise and enjoy our Sovereignty. This responsibility becomes particularly important during a Presidential Election, because of the immense power vested in this office.

With just a few days more for the 2015 Presidential Election, follow and support #IVotedSL, a trilingual campaign launched by Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) to encourage citizens to exercise their right to franchise.

Why should you care? For starters, see the vast powers the office of the Executive President commands in Sri Lanka.

Today, we release another infographic.

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#IVotedSL infographic: Voter turnout at Presidential Elections in Sri Lanka

Voting is an important civic responsibility and one way all of us exercise and enjoy our Sovereignty. This responsibility becomes particularly important during a Presidential Election, because of the immense power vested in this office.

With just a few days more for the 2015 Presidential Election, follow and support #IVotedSL, a trilingual campaign launched by Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) to encourage citizens to exercise their right to franchise.

Why should you care? For starters, see the vast powers the office of the Executive President commands in Sri Lanka.

Today, we release another infographic around how one in four registered voters in Sri Lanka, in the past, have not voted at a Presidential Election. We can and must change this.

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Change your profile today encourage your friends, family and colleague to go out and vote. To access our badges, logos and profile pics click here.