Prez poll final result by Nov 18 noon – EC Chairman | Daily News


If second count needed, results by 18th evening:

Prez poll final result by Nov 18 noon – EC Chairman

The final result of the Presidential Election 2019 will be released by noon on November 18, Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya told news media yesterday. If a second count of preferential votes was required, then the result would be announced by the evening of that day, he said.

Addressing a press conference at the Media Centre of the Election Secretariat in Rajagiriya yesterday, Deshapriya said that the counting of postal votes would start at 5.15pm on November 16 and the counting of other votes would start at 7pm.

He said about 200,000 public servants, 10,000 informal workers and 80,000 police personnel would be directly involved in the election work. With the addition of the Civil Defence Force personnel  and the Sri Lanka Transport Board workers, he pointed out that a total of about 400,000 persons would be deployed for election related work.

“True, we are overloaded with work this time, but we want all voters to exercise their franchise. Don’t miss your chance to vote. Vote is your right, your power, your voice and your future. November 16 is the International Day of Tolerance and Non-Violence. That is exactly what we need on the election day,” he stressed.

Repeating the correct method of marking the ballot paper, Deshapriya said the voter could either write 1,2,3 as of his/her preference or use traditional cross mark (x).

He added that the Election Commission has decided to use specially designed cardboard boxes as ballot boxes this time instead of wooden boxes. The imported plastic boxes the Commission already has in possession will be used in addition.

Displaying cardboard boxes to the media, Deshapriya said necessary fool-proof and security methods would be applied to all of them. The boxes are in three different sizes to suit the requirement of the polling station.

He said adopting cardboard boxes saved a lot of public money as the cost of an imported plastic box was in the range of Rs 6,000- Rs 8,000, and the cost of a large cardboard box was about Rs 1,500.

He reiterated that there is no chance for electoral fraud or ballot rigging. He said that the Commission receives the results in four different systems, so that if one system fails accidentally, the other systems would function.

He said that the Commission was of the view that there are about 7-8 proxy candidates among the 35 candidates in the fray and another 3-4 candidates support another candidate though they were said to be contesting. He said it could be due to this reason that some candidates had not appointed their authorized agents.

Deshapriya ended the news conference with a hint of his retirement from his post after the conclusion of the Presidential Election. “The results will be out on November 18 and I am planning to send the letter I have already prepared on November 19,” he said.

Election Commissioners Prof Rathnajeevan Hoole and Nalin Abeysekara also took part in the press conference. Towards the end of the press conference, there was an exchange of words between Deshapriya and Prof Hoole as their differences of opinions came to surface.

Prof Hoole told the media that the postal vote method in our country was “very out-of-date” and that we must opt for “internet voting”. Deshapriya, intervening at this point, distanced the Commission of that statement adding that it was Prof Hoole’s own decision.

“Even India is not going for internet voting. Prof Hoole can have his personal opinions. He had recently claimed that no candidate would get over 50 percent in this election. Again, it was not the Commission’s decision, but his own,” said Deshapriya.

“I did not say that. What I said was that I don’t believe that anybody will get over 50 percent,” replied Prof Hoole.

“It was wrong to say even that. I am not speaking against Hoole, and I can guarantee that he is not bias to anybody. However, some of the views he expresses are damaging the Commission. Prof Hoole is a liberal person with less election experience. I comment as the Chairman of the Commission and as a person who have more than 34 years’ experience on elections,” said Deshapriya.

Prof Hoole at this point again said the Commission has to be ready if no candidate obtains over 50 percent.

“We are ready to face such situations since 1982. In all training programmes since 1982 we have been giving instructions on second round of counting. If anybody is hurt by Prof Hoole’s statement, I like to apologize on behalf of the Commission. I work as a team, and I appear for the team when one member makes a mistake,” Deshapriya said.



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