Sri Lankan expat workers must show passports before casting vote

Published:  5 Jan at 11 AM
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Tagged: USA, Working Abroad
Migrant workers from Sri Lanka who are returning to the country for the elections will be made to show their passports and National Identity Cards (NICs) before being allowed to cast their votes, announced an elections official.

By showing their passports, officials will be able to determine the date and time migrant workers returned to their homeland and, therefore, learn if they got back after the relevant Grama Niladharis (public officials) carried out the registration process, according to Additional Elections Commissioner M.U. Amaradasa.

Amaradasa explained that the identification procedure was put in place to prevent impersonation and other such law violations during elections. He noted that the Grama Niladhari had jotted the letter ‘A’ on the voting list next to the names of individuals who had been working abroad so polling officers were aware of their situation.

Authorities introduced the new measures on the back of concerns from the opposition and independent election monitoring groups that there was a risk thousands of expat Sri Lankans in the Middle East and West Africa were going to be impersonated at polling stations.

The opposition and the polls monitoring groups asked the Elections Commissioner to introduce a rule that made it compulsory for migrants returning to Sri Lanka to show their passports before voting.
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