Elections Chief expects first result after midnight on Monday
August 15, 2015 05:35 pm
Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya says that it is highly unlikely that the first result of the 2015 General Election will be released before midnight on August 17.
“I don’t believe we will be able to issue the election result of even one electorate before midnight,” he told Ada Derana in an exclusive interview. “Sometimes if the number of candidates is small we might be able to issue the result by midnight.”
Deshapriya stated that he believed the results of some areas will be released only on Tuesday (18) morning and that preference votes results will take even longer.
“I can say that we have no intention of dragging it on till the 19th.”
The Elections Chief further stated that measures have been taken to prevent candidates from sending bulk text messages to woo voters during the 48-hour pre-election silence.
We have asked for sending bulk SMS to be stopped, Deshapriya said, adding that service providers have been asked to block the phone numbers which show a large number of SMSs sent, from today onwards.
“The most disappointing fact is that some candidates use their own phone number or their spouse’s number for canvassing. If a case is filed against them they definitely become wrongdoers,” he said.
He also warned candidates against attempting to influence voters near polling station on election day.
“We would like to tell the candidates not to get ready to distribute chits near polling stations on the 17th for voters to remember preference numbers.”
If they do so, they will be arrested for breaking the law and then produced before a court on the grounds of obstructing an election, Deshapriya said.
Responding to a question, he said that allegations of computer “jilmart” have been proven to be a myth at past elections.
“The main aspect in this computer jilmart accusation is the problem about a computer room. There is no such thing.”
He emphasized that the staff calculate votes manually sometimes using calculators and record it in sheets. In addition to that a photocopy of that is calculated using computers and in the end both results are compared.
“These are myths,” he said regarding the accusation.
The Commissioner of Elections also had some advice for Sri Lanka registered voters, some who are still contemplating whether to exercise their franchise on Monday.
“Vote is your right. Vote is your power. Therefore it is the duty of citizens to exercise their right.”
He asked voters to visit polling stations early on August 17 with a valid ID and cast their vote.