Special Assistance for the Disabled and Handicapped at Forthcoming Election
Persons with disabilities will be able to cast their vote at the forthcoming parliamentary election, only if the person accompanying such a voter, hands over a “Certificate of Eligibility” to the officers at the Polling station, the Election Commission announced on July 6th.
The ‘Certificate of Eligibility’ is prescribed in the Fifth Schedule to the Parliamentary Elections Act. If the person assisting a partially or totally visually handicapped or physically disabled voter does not hand in such a certificate, the said voter will not be allowed that assistance, a press release from the Commission said.
The form can be collected from the Grama Niladhari offices or District Election Offices. The form must carry an endorsement by the Grama Niladhari, and must then be submitted to a Government Medical Officer, for examination and certification of the elector.
In addition, the person who will be assisting such a voter has to be over 18 years of age. He or she cannot be a contestant at the upcoming election, nor act as an authorized agent, a leader of an independent group, polling division agent or a polling agent of a political party at the Parliamentary Election, or a person with any disability.
“The disabled elector should proceed to the polling station with his official poll card, National Identity Card or any other identification acceptable at the polling station and this Certificate of Eligibility, accompanied by the person who is named to assist the elector.
“The staff at the polling station having ascertained the identity of the elector will go through the normal procedure and issue a ballot paper to him/her. The elector will then be directed to the Senior Presiding Officer along with the person accompanying him or her. The person accompanying the elector must also carry his or her own identity card, the Election Commission said. A written statement will also be collected from the person accompanying the elector, by the Senior Presiding Officer. The elector will, along with the person accompanying him or her and a member of the polling staff, proceed to the voting cubicle, where he or she will be able to cast the vote in the presence of the staff person and the Senior Presiding Officer.
In case the voter fails to bring someone as an assistant, he or she can cast their vote with the help of the Senior Presiding Officer with another officer also present, as has been the practice at previous elections.
Meanwhile, the commission also stated that any person who requires special transport to get to the polling station, could obtain permission for that purpose by writing to the Returning Officer of his or her district.
The application for this facility should reach the Returning Officer seven days before the date of poll (29th July 2020).
The Election Commission also added that it will assist the process if the application to the Returning Officer is accompanied with a medical certificate from a Registered Medical Practitioner (Western or Indigenous) confirming that the applicant is unable to travel by foot or by public transport to the polling station.
Copies of the application forms can be found here: