Gopiharan Perinpam created an excellent set of voting guidelines targeting the upcoming election. Here they are, with minor modifications. If you’re voting, you might want to read this.
PART ONE: ELIGIBILITY
1) Voters List for the Parliamentary General Elections 2015 will be based on the Electoral Registers of 2014. You are eligible to vote if your name appears in that register. You can verify it online here by entering your NIC number: http://www.slelections.gov.lk/id/index.aspx.
You can also verify by contacting your Grama Niladhari/ Divisional Secretariat.
2) If your name is not in the list, then unfortunately you cannot vote this time. But don’t stop there: if you are at least 18 years old, make this opportunity to register your details, so you can vote at the next election.
3) There is a possibility that you have already received your polling card. Those who haven’t, you may receive it in days to come. But the important thing to note is that the polling card is not mandatory at the time of voting as long as your name appears in the Electoral Register. Polling card is more or less like an invitation. Verify which polling station is assigned for you, and you can visit and vote even without a polling card. Note that you have to carry a valid identification document.
4) Valid identification documents accepted at the polling station include: National Identity Card, Valid Passport, Valid Driving License, Elders/Pension Identity Card and Religious Identity Cards (for clergy). You can use either one of these documents. Expired passports and expired driving license will not be accepted.
5) If you are not in possession of any of the above-mentioned identification documents, you can still vote by producing a temporary identity card obtained from your Grama Niladhari. To obtain a temporary identity card, contact your Grama Niladhari along with 2 photographs. But the deadline to obtain on is the 10th of August (today).
PART TWO: PICKING CANDIDATES
Everyone has their own right to choose a candidate to vote. No other person can influence one’s choice. But make sure you choose wisely, without giving into sensationalism. Don’t end up as just a voter. Instead be/become a citizen. Question your politicians. More than 200 members of the previous parliament are contesting again. Many others are contesting for the first time.
No matter who your favorite candidate is, remember you are choosing them for the “National” parliament, and not just to build roads for your neighborhood. They will play key roles in designing the policies for the entire country, hence choose the right people. If you are not able to question and get response from your chosen candidate chances are that you have chosen the wrong person.
Yudhanjaya’s note: Manthri.lk (http://www.manthri.lk/) has compiled a list of the people who are running for elections, including their profiles and the stances they took on major issues. Before you start picking, see how active your favourite politicians are in Parliament. Don’t elect someone who just stands by and says nothing.
According to the March 12 Movement for clean politics, these are few questions you should ask yourself about the candidate you choose:
i- Does he/she possesses a sufficient knowledge of the law making process that is the primary function of the parliament?
ii- is he/she a law abiding person?
iii- does he/she earn an income from anti-social activities?
iv- does he/she accused of taking bribes
v- does he/she harm the environment?
vi- does he/she misuse or abuse power?
Choose your candidate based on the type of answers for these questions.
If you are thinking of voting for someone from the previous parliament, you can also use the Manthri.lk site and their “election hub” ( http://www.manthri.lk/ ) to see how your preferred candidate performed overall and at times of key legislation, and you can decide for yourself.
PART THREE: ELECTION TRANSPARENCY
During the election period, if you spot anyone disobeying election rules or misusing state resources, you can either contact the Election Commissioner via this web form: http://www.slelections.gov.lk/commi_contact.html
Or you can contact your district election secretariats:http://www.slelections.gov.lk/ge2015_email.html
Or you can direct the complaints to Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV)
Or you can also contact Paffrel or Transparency International via firstname.lastname@example.org / 0719241155 / 071 9241133
Have a good election. Your vote matters – so choose wisely.