Mobile booths dropped, quarantined voters to vote at normal booths

The National Election Commission is to allocate 30 minutes at polling booths for voters in quarantine to vote at the Parliamentary election on 5th August.

The Commission dropped an earlier plan to operate mobile polling stations for quarantined voters.

Chairman of the Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said that the mobile Polling station program scheduled for 31st July has been cancelled.

Election Commission member Ratnajeevan Hoole told the Colombo Gazette that the program was withdrawn after questions were raised on the franchise rights of patients infected with COVID-19.

The Election Law too explicitly states that voters must cast their votes at official polling booths. As it was pointed out that it was unfair treatment for infected patients the Commission was forced to rethink the program, he explained.

Hoole said as a result, it has been proposed to make special arrangements by extending the voting period from 5.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. for quarantined voters.

“The voters must obtain prior approval from the Ministry of Health to cast their ballots at their respective polling booths. The Ministry of Health has to provide approval for arrangements to be made in this regard,” he said.

When inquired if special arrangements will be made for COVID-19 infected patients to cast their ballots, Hoole said any such patients arriving at polling booths cannot be prevented from casting their ballots.

He added that the issues surrounding the mobile polling booths and alternative plans have been conveyed to Party Leaders during the last meeting with the Election Commission. (Colombo Gazette)