Sri Lanka general election voting picking up after slow start, Colombo 26-pct: officials
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s voters are turning out to vote in the 2020 general elections by mid morning amid Coronavirus health rules after an initial slow start election officials said.
By around 1100 am on August 05, about 26 percent had turned out to vote in the capital district of Colombo.
“After an initial slow start people are turning out to vote,” District Secretary Pradeep Yasaratne told state-run Rupavahini television.
“In some polling booths it is as high as 30 percent but on average it is around 26 percent.”
People are following health guidelines and voting is peaceful he said.
Voters have to line up one meter apart, use hand sanitizer and wear a mask. They have to briefly remove the mask for identification.
Elections officials, who are behind a transparent plastic panel asks voters to place their finger on a disinfectant soaked piece of lint. They then paint the nail of a finger with indelible ink. The lint is then picked up and dropped on a box.
Voters have been also asked to bring a ball point pen if they can. Most are bringing their own pens, officials said.
In Galle turnout has been around 20 percent by mid-morning District Secretary Somaratne Vidanapathirana said.
MDR Pushpakumara, Nuwara Eliya District Secretary said about 24 – 29 percent had voted at various polling centres by around 1000 am. Polling may pick up after 1100 when estates give leave to workers, he said.
Turnout in Kandy was around 25 percent, Matatale 25 percent, Hambantota 24 percent by mid-morning.
In Sri Lanka a low turnout generally favours the incumbent administration. In general elections Sri Lanka has seen turnouts as low as 61 percent.
In the presidential election there was an 82 percent turnout.
Sri Lanka is going to vote amid an economic downturn. Data from the state statistics office showed the economy had contracted 1.3 percent in the first quarter of 2020.
More than 16.2 million are eligible to vote in the elections which will see 225 members elected, 196 directly and the balance from a national list.