Elections Commissioner says: Fully satisfied with election
Posted on February 3rd, 2010

Dharma SRI ABEYRATNE and Shirley WIJESINGHE  Daily News

  • Results tabulated by ColomboUniversity Computer Service
  • Personally verified computer result with manual tally
  • Never held at gun point
  • Any aggrieved party could appeal to Supreme Court
  • Counting carried out with transparency

Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake yesterday said that he is fully satisfied with the recent Presidential Election including polling, counting procedure and tabulated results.

The Commissioner addr- essing a media briefing held yesterday at the Election Secretariat said that there was no basis to annul the result of any polling station, thus scotching rumours of alleged irregularities.

“Anyone who is not satisfied or harbours a grievance with the final result of the Presidential Election, the proper action to follow is to go before the Supreme Court with an Election Petition within 21 days from the date of the poll.”

The Elections Commissioner said he took all possible steps to provide IDPs in welfare villages with facilities to cast their votes without any hindrance.

However, he said he was not happy with the way certain activities were conducted by political parties during the election campaign period. “There were large cut-outs, posters seen everywhere. However within two weeks these were removed as far as possible with the help of the police,” he added. “However during the polling day everything was calm. People went and cast their votes and the turnout were around was 75 percent”. He said counting commenced in the evening after all the ballot boxes arrived at the counting centres, the Commissioner added.

The Commissioner said representatives of all political parties accompanied the ballot boxes to the counting centres. The first stage of the counting was to verify the number of votes in the ballot box. Thereafter this was cross checked with the Senior Presiding Officer’s tally of the ballot. Once this was over all the ballot papers were mixed up and the sorting commenced. Once it was sorted according to the candidate, the ballot papers were separated into bundles of 50.

He said the bundles were checked, rechecked and there was a super check followed by a random check. Thereafter the result of each counting centre was prepared along with six carbon copies. The first copy was sent to the Returning Officer for issuing the result.

The second copy was given to the representative of the winner at the particular counting centre. The third copy was given to the agent of the candidate who obtained next highest vote and the fourth was given to the candidate who was placed third.

The fifth copy was displayed inside the counting centre and the last copy was attached to the Counting Officer’s journal.

Since all the detailed result were made available unlike the previous occasions, the process was foolproof and transparent, he said. Dissanayake said there were rumours that he was under house arrest and that he was signing documents at gunpoint while the results were being relayed which is completely false.

The Commissioner said the result was published with help of the UCSC which is the Faculty of Computing of the University of Colombo.

He said the same personnel were involved in the tabulating of results by computer from 1981 upto date barring its pioneer the late Professor V. K. Samaranayake.

“I have complete trust in the UCSC and can say that none of the UCSC staff manipulated the result. To be satisfied with the result which had been disseminated to the electronic and print media, mobile services operators too were sent the results through the data communication links. A scanned document of the final result signed by him was sent to all media institutions. He said that both a manual and a computer count was carried out and both sheets were verified by him personally.

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Polls Chief to stay

Shirley WIJESINGHE and Dharma SRI ABERATNE

Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake told the media yesterday that he has decided to stay in office till the upcoming General Election is over.

He added that this decision was based on the facts including the need to face any future court case in connection with the Presidential election, after considering appeals made by his staff and the NDF Presidential candidate of the Opposition parties.

Dissanayake denied claims that he was unable to control some ballot boxes in certain areas. Asked about suspicious unauthorized persons coming into the Election Secretariat the following morning, he named some personnel who visited him as Lal Perera, Lal Manamendra and Sharmila Perera among them. “They visited me even after 4.30 a.m. the following day.”

Referring to an information placed before him about the recent ballot papers found in Ratnapura area, Dissanayake said that he cannot make any comment on it before making an inquiry.

He said that he is very disappointed about the way of passing the 17th Amendment to the Constitution limiting debating time in Parliament to only 11 hours. Some provisions to control media had been removed to allow loopholes to remain to give their personal political agenda to the media by different political parties, he said.

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