Voting for the 2018 Local Authority Election will get underway at 7.00am on the 10th of February at 13,374 polling centers.
Voting to elect representatives for 340 Local Government Bodies will conclude at 4.00pm.
15,760,878 voters are eligible to cast ballot to elect 8,325 Local Government representatives.
Voting for the election will be conducted under a new electoral method with 60 per cent of the candidates being elected under the first-past-the-post system while 40 per cent will be elected through the propositional representation system.
Nominations for the 2018 Local Authority Election were called in December under two stages following legal complications due to the changes made to the Local Authorities Amendment Act.
Accordingly, the election will be held for 24 Municipal councils, 41 Urban councils and for 275 Pradeshiya Sabha.
However election for the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha was postponed following a court injunction. Accordingly, 52,801 eligible voters from the Elpitiya electorate will elect their representatives at a future by-election.
The Elections Commission has announced that eligible voters are required to produce, a valid form of identity at the polling station at the Local Authorities Election.
Accordingly, voters are required to produce one of the seven documents at polling stations.
The Elections Commission said, the National Identity Card issued by the Department of Registration of Persons, a Valid Passport, a Valid Driving License, a Government Pensioners’ Identity Card, an Elders’ Identity Card, an Identity Card issued for Clergy by the Department of Registration of Persons or Special Identity Card issued by the Election Commission will be accepted at polling centres.
The Commission in a statement said, no other document will be accepted at polling stations as a valid document to issue a ballot paper.
The Elections Commission also announced only a limited number of individuals will be permitted to enter polling stations during the election period.
Accordingly, only registered voters, staff deployed at polling stations, candidates, secretaries of recognized political parties, registered polling agents, observers, police personnel on election duty, returning officers and persons authorized by returning officers will be permitted to enter polling stations.
The Commission stated candidates contesting in a particular ward will only be allowed to enter the polling stations based in their relevant constituency, while candidates included in the supplementary list will be allowed to enter all polling stations within Local Government Bodies. However, the Commission noted candidates will not be allowed to carry out propaganda or canvassing in the vicinity of polling stations.
Furthermore, the use of mobile phones, taking of photographs, videos, being in possession of firearms, smoking or the use of alcohol and other intoxicants have been prohibited.
The Elections Commission says nearly 150,000 public servants have been assigned for election duty at the 2018 Local Authority Election while the Commission has issued a stern warning against state officials who fail to execute election duties.
Meanwhile, the Elections Commission has announced that Senior Polling officers and other officials for 13,374 polling stations will deployed from Friday, the February 9.
Issuing a communiqué, the Commission said legal action will be taken against state officials who fail to report for election duties as scheduled. The Commission added vehicles belonging to state institutions, corporations and other bodies, that have been reserved for election matters, must be released by respective heads of institutions.
The Elections Commission also requested all officials to cooperate with the Commission to conduct the Local Authority Election in a swift manner.
The counting of ballots for the first time in the history of Local Authorities Election in the country, will be conducted at Polling stations.
The counting of votes will take place at 10675 counting centers while 3852 centres have been assigned to count postal ballots.
Accordingly, the preliminary results will be sent to the respective District Returning Officers and subsequently to the Elections Secretariat. The Secretariat is scheduled to release official election results to media.
The Police Headquarters has decided to deploy 65,758 police personnel for election duties, for the 2018 Local Authority Election to be held on February 10.
Speaking during a media briefing, Police Media Spokesman Superintendent of Police Ruwan Gunasekara said two armed police personnel, a Constable and Sergeant, will be deployed to each of the 13,374 polling centers across the country. The Police Media Spokesman added, 26,840 police personnel will be deployed for polling center duties. In addition, police mobile services will also be ensured covering the country. Each mobile unit will cover around three to four polling centers and accordingly, 3,225 mobile units have been assigned to provide security.
The Police headquarters noted a total of 13,552 Police and Civil Security Department personnel will be assigned for mobile patrols. Police Media Spokesman SP Gunasekara added 140 riot prevention squads have also been deployed under Police divisional and ASP levels. The riot squads will comprise 1,106 police personnel of several ranks. The Police Department has also deployed 3,248 Police Officers to 464 spot checks.
A total of 4,178 Police Special Task Force personnel will also be deployed for election duty and will be deployed for mobile patrols and security duties around polling stations and counting centers.
The Army Headquarters said 855 Army personnel will be deployed for election duty for the 2018 Local Authority Election. Army Media Spokesman Brigadier Sumith Atapattu said Army personnel will be dispatched to 155 polling centres upon a request made by the Elections Commission. The Army Media Spokesman added 6,200 Tri-forces personnel will also remain on standby to be deployed in the event of an requirement.
The Tri-forces personnel on standby also include 555 Navy personnel and 443 Air Force personnel.
Election monitoring bodies, the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence and the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections have decided to deploy over 10,000 election observers.
1,337 buses of the Sri Lanka Transport Board will also be deployed for the election.
SLTB Chief Operations Superintendent PHRT Chandrasiri said the buses will be deployed to distribute ballot boxes, and to station election and security officials to their designated stations.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Transport Board is scheduled to operate a special bus service from 8 February due to the Local Authority Election. SLTB Chief Operations Superintendent PHRT Chandrasiri said 150 buses have been allocated for this purpose. Furthermore, additional bus services will function on February 11th and 12th to ease the congestion with voters returning to Colombo from home towns after casting votes.
The Superintendent added the Elections Commission and several District Secretariats have already reserved 100 SLTB buses for election related work.
The Department of Excise has announced that all liquor stores will be closed on Saturday, February 10, in view of the Local Authority Election. The Director General of the Department KHA Meegasmulla said the decision was reached according to recommendations by the Elections Commission. The Department noted all liquor stores have been informed of the decision.
Stay tuned to NewsRadio for the latest from the 2018 Local Authority Election.