Elections Commission urges electronic vote counting

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has recommended to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reforms that an electronic method of counting votes should be adopted at future elections, parliamentary sources said yesterday.

The recommendation was made made by NEC Chairman Nimal Punchihewa on Thursday when he appeared before the PSC to identify appropriate reforms of the election laws and electoral system and recommend necessary amendments.

The NEC Chairman said that it was essential that there should be a systematic program to regulate the media and social media during election periods. Usually media guidelines during election periods are prepared by the NEC but the commission did not have powers to deal with transgressions. It was therefore essential that such criteria be enacted by Parliament.

Chairman of the PSC Education Minister Dinesh Gunawardena had pointed out that it was more practical to count the votes at the polling booth itself. He requested the NEC to support the expeditious holding of the Provincial Council Elections which are continuously delayed due to various reasons.

The NEC chairman said that a comprehensive amendment should be made to the existing method of forfeiting the deposits of candidates under the current Local Government Election Act. He also suggested that a mobile voting system be set up for the disabled.

The Elections Commission proposed new amendments to the law to allow the visually impaired to cast their ballots via a braille system. They also pointed out that a new program should be implemented to protect the franchise of foreign employed workers out of the country during an election.

The PSC members pointed out to the NEC officials that there had been reports of single persons being registered in the electoral list at different addresses.

Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, MPs Ranjith Madduma Bandara, M.A Sumanthiran, Rauf Hakeem, Mano Ganeshan, Madura Vithanage and Sagara Kariyawasam were present at the PSC meeting.

The next meeting is scheduled for Oct 7, said Secretary to the Select Committee, Deputy Secretary General and Chief of Staff of Parliament Kushani Rohanadheera.


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