Sajin writes to EC raising concerns on voter turnout

The National Organizer of the National Democratic Front (NDF) Sajin de Vass Gunawardena has raised concerns with the National Election Commission on the voter turnout reported in the Galle district during the General Elections 2020 held on 05 August.

In a letter to the Chairman of the Election Commission, Gunawardena said in the Galle district the total voter turnout was displayed as 645, 803 which signifies a 74.43% turnout.

“I wish to draw your attention to the news flashes on two private television channels which were released around 16.40 hrs on 05 August stating that the Elections Commission has confirmed that the total voter turnout as at 16.00 hrs remains at 55%. Accordingly, it would be correct to say that by 16.00 hrs a total of around 520,323 was the total voter turnout thus signifying that a further 125,480 people cast their votes within the remaining sixty (60) minutes to conclude the polling by 17.00 hrs with a total voter turnout of 645, 803. Thus the 125,480 voter turnout within the said sixty minutes reflect a 19.43% turnout’, he explained.

Sajin de Vass Gunawardena went onto say that taking into consideration the above-said timings, numbers, and voter turnout, etc the following facts baffle him.

  • Voter turnout from 16.000 to 17.00 hrs  – 125,480
  • Total time in minutes – 60
  • Total polling booths in Galle district – 712
  • Total votes cast per polling booth (average) – 176
  • Total votes cast per hour – 176
  • Total votes cast per minute – 2.9

Gunawardena pointed out that 2.9 or three votes have been cast per minute over 712 polling booths to achieve the total voter turnout of 19.43% equivalent to 125,480 votes as per the certified results published by the Elections Commission.

He further requested the Election Commission to respond to the following queries that have arisen after assessing the statistical data that is available as per the published results.

  1. How can three votes be cast per minute at any polling booth as it takes a minimum of 4 minutes in the minimum to cast the vote under usual circumstances?
  2. As per the stringent health guidelines imposed by the Election Commission owing to the COVID-19 pandemic will it be possible to cast three votes per minute at any polling booth in the country?
  3. Explain under what process three votes can be facilitated every minute in any given polling booth bearing in mind that three votes per minute have to be cast over sixty minutes continuously over 712polling booths to achieve a total of 125,840 votes to be cast?

Sajin de Vass Gunawardena called on the national Election Commission to respond to his queries for the benefit of the public and in order to ensure total transparency in the conducting of the elections. (Colombo Gazette)