For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Tuesday, 20 July 2010 00:00
By Yohan Perera
United National Party (UNP) front-liner Ravi Karunanayake yesterday complained to Deputy Elections Commissioner P.M. Siriwardene that names of voters have been systematically removed from the Colombo North electoral lists.
He said about 10,000 names had been deleted from the lists last year in this electoral division which has traditionally been a UNP stronghold.
Mr. Karunanayake raised this matter when he met Mr. Siriwardena and said the number of voters had decreased annually.
He said the number of registered voters in 2006 was 163,000 but had reduced to 103,050 in 2007, 95,385 in 2008 and to 84,801 last year.
Mr. Karunanayake alleged that the names of voters had been deliberately struck off the list at the time of registration.
He said that according to the latest available data this had been the pattern in other electorates in Colombo with only 1.5 voters out of a 1.8 million registered in the Colombo District. Mr. Karunanayake said he decided to take up this issue with the Elections Department with the objective of preserving the voting rights of people especially in view of next year’s local council elections.
He said the Deputy Commissioner had assured he would rectify the situation as soon as possible.
Election monitoring groups had recently highlighted shortcomings in the matter of voter registrations with People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) saying they had received more than 50 complaints from voters whose names had been deleted.
PAFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi charged that only 50 per cent of the registration forms had been distributed by June 15. Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CAFFÉ) also complained recently on the shortcomings in the voter registration process.