PROVINCIAL COUNCILS ELECTIONS ACT

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

PART I

Preliminary

2. Application of Act.

3. Membership of Provincial Council.

4. Polling divisions and polling districts.

5. Registers of electors.

6. Register of electors to be conclusive evidence of right to vote.

7. Returning officers.

8. Recognised political parties for the purpose of elections.

9. Disqualification of membership.

PART II

Nominations

10. Nomination period.

11. Power of Commissioner to direct which one of the rival sections of recognised political party is that party.

12. Who may contest election.

13. Nomination papers.

14. Deposits.

15. Disposal of deposits.

16. Connect to nomination of offence under certain circumstances.

17. Rejection of nominated papers.

18. Uncontested elections.

19. Procedure where no nomination papers are received.

20. Contested elections.

21. Persons entitled to be present at nomination.

PART III

The Poll

22. Notice of poll.

23. Death of candidate after nomination.

24. Voting by post.

25. Official poll card.

26. Presiding officers.

27. Facilities to be provided at polling station.

28. Notice to be exhibited at polling stations.

29. Ballot boxes.

30. Ballot papers.

31. Hours of poll.

32. Appointment of the polling agent.

33. General conduct of the poll.

34. Sealing of ballot boxes and commencement of the poll.

35. Issue of ballet papers.

36. Inspection of voter and marking with the appropriate mark.

37. Manner of voting.

38. Assistance to voters to enable them to vote.

39. Voting by proxy forbidden.

40. Plural voting to be an illegal practice.

41. Power to require voter to make declarations.

42. Spoilt ballot papers.

43. Tendered votes.

44. Closure of the poll.

45. Procedure on closure of the poll.

46. Presiding officers may act through officers appointed to assist him.

46A. Disturbances at polling stations.

47. Counting officers.

48. Notice of the count.

49. Appointment of counting agents.

50. The count.

51. Ballot papers to be rejected.

52. Special provisions relating to powers duties and functions under sections 50 and 51.

53. Closure of the count.

54. Counting of postal ballot papers.

55. Notice of declaration of result.

56. Appointment of agents to attend at the declaration of result.

57. Persons entitled to be present at the declaration of result.

58. Declaration of the result.

59. Special provinces relating to powers, duties or functions under section 58.

60. Publications of result in the Gazette.

61. Disposal of ballot papers.

61A. Bonus seats.

62. Vacation of membership.

63. Vacation of office on ceasing to be member of recognised political party or independent group.

64. Penalty for acting as member after office is vacated.

65. Filling of vacancies.

66. Offences related to nomination papers, ballot papers, official poll cards.

67. Certain persons not qualified to vote.

68. Certain acts prohibited on polling day.

69. Restriction on procession.

70. Restriction on public meetings.

71. General provisions relating to offences.

72. Printing of election publications by persons.

73. Restriction on number of election offices.

74. Provisions relating to displayed handbills, poster.

75. Candidate not to visit residence for canvassing.

76. Certain persons not to canvass or act as an agent.

77. Maintenance of secrecy in elections.

78. Personation.

79. Treating.

80. Undue influence.

81. Bribery.

82. Punishment and incapacities for corrupt practice.

83. Special provision relating to punishment and incapacity for a corrupt practice by an unsuccessful candidate at an election.

84. Certain expenditure to be illegal practice.

85. False reports in newspapers.

86. Certain employment to be illegal.

87. Printing of election publications.

88. Punishment on conviction for illegal practices.

89. Special provisions relating to punishment and incapacity for an illegal practice by an unsuccessful candidate at an election.

90. Additional penalty for certain offences.

91. Avoidance by conviction of candidate.

92. Avoidance of election on election petition.

93. Court of Appeal to try election petitions.

94. Place of trial of an election petition.

95. Who may present petition.

96. Relief which may be claimed.

97. Parties to a petition.

98. Contents of the petitioner.

99. Special provision relating to the procedure before an Election Judge.

100. Determination of Election Judge.

101. Report of Judges as to corrupt or illegal practice.

102. Appeal on question of law against determination under section 100 and any other decision or order of Election Judge.

103. Security by appellants of appeal.

104. Power of the Supreme Court in appeal.

105. Transmission to President of certificate and report.

106. Effect of Certificate.

107. Effect of Report.

108. Time for presentation.

109. Prohibition of disclosure of vote.

110. Votes to be struck off at a scrutiny.

111. Procedure and practice on election petitions.

113. Report Exonerating candidate in certain cases of corrupt or illegal practices.

114. Power at Court to except innocent act from being illegal.

115. Failure to comply with.

116. Death, withdrawal or disqualification of candidate not to invalidate nomination paper of a party or group.

117. Use of schools as polling station.

118. Secretary of a recognised political party or group leader may act as his own agent or assist his agent.

119. Non-attendance of the agents of recognised political party or independent group.

120. Prohibition of disclosure of vote.

121. Inaccurate description of places and persons.

122. Publication of notices.

123. Duty of employers to grant leave to enable employees to vote.

124. Requisition of premises for use as polling stations.

125. Compensation for requisitioning premises.

125A. Procedure for casting vote where there is a reasonable fear of inability to cast vote at a given polling station.

126. Powers of Commissioner.

127. Removal of difficulties.

128. National identity card.

128A. Special provision applicable to first elections under this Act.

129. Interpretation.

SCHEDULES

2 of 1988,

35 of 1988,

55 of 1988,

27 of 1990,

29 of 1990,

7 of 1993,

5 of 2004,

14 of 2004,

28 of 2011.

AN ACT to make provision for the procedure of the election of member of Provincial Councils and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto.

[Date of Commencement: 27th January, 1988]

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Provincial Councils Elections Act.

PART I

Preliminary

2. Application of Act.

The provisions of this Act shall apply to every Provincial Council established under the provisions of Part XVIIA of the Constitution.

3. Membership of Provincial Council.

(1) Every Provincial Council shall consist of such number of members as may be specified by the President in an Order made under section 2 of the Provincial Councils Act, No. 42 of 1987.

[S 3(1) subs by s 2 of Act 5 of 2004.]

(2) Every administrative district in a province shall for the purposes of elections to the Provincial Council established for that province, constitute an electoral area.

(3) The number of members to be elected, from each administrative district of a province to the Provincial Council established for that province shall be determined by the; Commissioner on the following basis—

(a) one member for every 40,000 residents in that administrative district. For the purpose of making determination under this paragraph, the total number of persons who, according to the last general census, were for the time being resident in that administrative district shall be ascertained to the nearest 40,000; and

(b) one member for every 1000 square kilometers of area in that administrative district. For the purpose of making a determination under this paragraph, the area of that administrative district shall be calculated to the nearest 1000 square kilometers:

Provided that, the number of members determined by the Commissioner in terms of this subsection shall correspond to the number of members specified by the President by an Order made under section 2 of the Provincial Councils Act, No. 42 of 1987, less two members to be declared elected in terms of subsection (2) of section 61A.

[S 3(3)(b) am by s 2 of Act 5 of 2004.]

(4) A determination made by the Commissioner under this section shall be final and conclusive and shall not be called in question in any court.

4. Polling divisions and polling districts.

(1) Each polling division for the time being in force under the Registration of Electors Act, No. 44 of 1980, shall be deemed to be a polling division for the purposes of this Act.

(2) Each polling district for the time being in force under the Registration of Electors Act, No. 44 of 1980 shall be deemed to be a polling district for the purposes of this Act.

5. Registers of electors.

(1) The register to be used for the purposes of an election under this Act shall be the register in operation on the date of publication of notice of nomination under section 10, notwithstanding that a new register may have come into operation after the publication of such notice.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) a "register in operation” means a register of electors in operation in terms of the Registration of Electors Act, No. 44 of 1980 and includes a register or registers or a part of a register or any combination of them corresponding to an administrative district.

6. Register of electors to be conclusive evidence of right to vote.

A register of electors referred to in section 5 shall be conclusive evidence for the purpose of determining whether a person is or is not entitled to vote at an election under this Act and the right of voting of any person whose name is for the time being contained in such register shall not be prejudiced by any appeal pending under any written law for the time being in force in respect of the entry of such person's name in the register, and any vote given by any such person during the pendency of such appeal shall be as good as though no such appeal were pending and shall not be affected by the subsequent decision of the appeal:

Provided that if any person, who by reason of his conviction of a corrupt practice or an illegal practice or by reason of any of the provisions of the Constitution or by reason of his disqualification under section 67, is incapable of voting at an election under this Act, votes at such election, he shall, on conviction before a Magistrate be liable to a fine not exceeding one thousand rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a period not exceeding six months:

Provided further that nothing in this section shall affect the liability of any person to any penalty for an Infringe-infringement of the provisions relating to voting in person under section 24 or to plural voting under section 40.

7. Returning officers.

(1) The Commissioner shall, from time to time, by notice in the Gazette appoint by name or by office a person to be the returning officer of each administrative district and may appoint by name or by office one or more persons to assist the returning officer in the performance of his duties. A person so appointed to assist any returning officer shall have all the powers and may perform all the duties of the officer whom he is appointed to assist, and any reference in this Act to a returning officer shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be deemed to include a reference to an assistant returning officer. An appointment made by the Commissioner under this subsection may be revoked by him at any time.

(2) If any returning officer is by reason of illness or other cause prevented or disabled from performing any of his duties under this Act and there is no time for another person to be appointed by the Commissioner, the returning officer may appoint by name or office, a deputy to act for him. Every such appointment shall as soon as possible be reported to the Commissioner and may be revoked by him, but without prejudice to the validity of anything already done by such deputy.

8. Recognised political parties for the purpose of elections.

(1) Every political party which is treated as a recognised political party under the Parliamentary Elections Act, No. 1 of 1981, shall, so long as that political party continues to be treated as a recognised political party under that Act, be deemed to be a recognised political party for the purpose of elections under this Act.

(2) Where a political party is deemed by virtue of the operation of the provisions of subsection (1) to be a recognised political party for the purpose of elections under this Act, the approved symbol allotted to that party under the Parliamentary Elections Act, No. 1 of 1981, or any other law, shall be deemed to be the approved symbol of that party until such party ceases to be so entitled under subsection (1).

9. Disqualification of membership.

No person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of a Provincial Council or to sit and vote as an elected member of such Council, if such person is subject to any of the disqualifications as specified in section 3 of the Provincial Councils Act, No. 42 of 1987.

PART II

Nominations

10. Nomination period.

(1) Within one week of the dissolution of a Provincial Council by reason of, the operation of article 154E of the Constitution or an order made under Article 154B(8)(c) of the Constitution or by reason of the operation of section 5A of the Provincial Councils Act, No 42 of 1987 or in the case of the first elections held under this Act, within one week from a direction from the President to hold an election to a Provincial Council, the Commissioner shall publish a notice of his intention to hold an election to such Council. The notice shall specify the period (herein after referred to as the "nomination period”) during which nomination papers shall be received by the returning officer of each administrative district in the province for which such Provincial Council is established, during normal office hours at his office, and the number of candidates required under section 13(1) to be to be set out on the nomination paper.

[S 10(1) am by s 2 of Act 29 of 1990.]

(2) The nomination period shall commence on the fourteenth day after the date of publication of the notice referred to in subsection (1) and expire at twelve noon or the twenty-first day after the day of publication of such notice.

11. Power of Commissioner to direct which one of the rival sections of recognised political party is that party.

(1) Where the Commissioner has reasonable cause believe that difficulties may arise at an election which is due to be held in any administrative district by reason of the fact that there are rival sections of a recognised political party all of whom claim to be that party, the Commissioner may, in order to remove such difficulties, issue in his absolute discretion a direction to the returning officer for that administrative district that in the case of such election such recognised political party is either any one such section or none of such sections. It shall be the duty of such returning officer or any other officer, at such election, to act in accordance with that direction.

(2) No suit or other proceeding shall lie against—

(a) the Commissioner by reason of his having issued a direction under subsection (1); or

(b) a returning officer or any other officer for any act or thing done or omitted to be done in accordance with that direction.

(3) A direction issued to a returning officer under sub section (1) shall be final end conclusive, and shall not be called in question in any court.

(4) The preceding provisions of this section and any direction issued thereunder shall have effect notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other provisions of this Act.

12. Who may contest election.

Any person who is not disqualified to be elected as a member of a Provincial Council under the Provincial Councils Act may be nominated as a candidate for election.

13. Nomination papers.

(1) Any recognised political party or any group of persons contesting as independent candidates (hereinafter referred to as an "independent group”) may for the purpose of an election of members from an administrative district to a Provincial Council submit one nomination paper setting out the names, of such number of candidates as is equivalent to the number of members to be elected from that administrative district, increased by three. Such nomination paper shall be substantially in form A set out in the First Schedule to this Act.

(2) The written consent of each candidate to be nominated by a recognised political party or an independent group shall be endorsed on the nomination paper, and there shall be annexed to such nomination paper, an oath or affirmation, as the case may be, in the form set out in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, taken and subscribed or made and subscribed, as the case may be, by every such candidate, and in the case of an independent group, a receipt acknowledging the receipt of the deposit made by such group under section 14.

(3) Each nomination paper shall be signed by the Secretary of a recognised political party or in the case of an independent group, by the candidate whose name appears first in the nomination paper (hereinafter referred to as the "group leader”) and shall be attested by a Justice of the Peace or by a notary public.

(4) Such nomination paper together with a copy thereof shall be delivered to the returning officer at his office during normal office hours within the nomination period by the secretary of a recognised political party or by the candidate whose name appears first in such nomination paper (hereinafter referred to as the " authorised agent”) in the ease of a recognised political party, or by the group leader in the case of an independent group.

(5) Where, due to any reason whatsoever, the secretary of a recognised political party or the authorised agent or the group leader is unable to deliver a nomination paper, the candidate whose name appears second on such nomination paper shall deliver such nomination paper to the returning officer as required by subsection (4).

(6) The returning officer shall display a copy of each nomination paper received by him on his notice-board.

(7) The returning officer shall, on application made at any date after the publication of the notice of nomination and before the expiry of the nomination period, supply free of charge a nomination paper to any recognised political party or any independent group; but nothing in this Act shall be deemed to preclude the use of any form of nomination paper not supplied by the returning officer, so long as such form does not differ substantially from form A set out in the First Schedule to this Act.

(8) —

(a) Where it appears to the secretary of a recognised political party or an authorised agent or a group leader that there is any omission or clerical error in a nomination paper submitted by such party or independent group he may make an application to the returning officer before the expiry of the nomination period to correct such omission or error on such paper.

(b) Where the returning officer is satisfied that such omission or error is due to inadvertence, the returning officer may allow such secretary or authorised agent or group leader to correct such omission or error in his presence.

(c) For the purposes of this subsection the omission of the name of a candidate, or the failure of a candidate to endorse his consent on a nomination paper, or the failure of the secretary of a recognised political party or a group leader to sign a nomination paper or the failure of a Justice of the Peace or a notary public to attest such signature shall be deemed not to be an omission or a clerical error due to inadvertence.

14. Deposits.

(1) A group leader or any other person authorised by such group leader, shall, between the date of publication of the notice under section 10 and the submission of the nomination paper of that group, and in any case, not later than 12 p.m. on the day immediately preceding the end of the nomination period, deposit in legal tender with the returning officer, a sum calculated at two thousand rupees in respect of each candidate nominated by such group.

(2) No deposit made by a group leader or a person authorised by such group leader under subsection (1) shall be accepted by the returning officer unless it is made within the time prescribed in that subsection.

(3) Where a deposit under this section is accepted by the returning officer, such officer shall forthwith issue to the person by whom the deposit was made a receipt in writing signed by such officer acknowledging his acceptance of such deposit, and the receipt shall state—

(a) the name of the group leader by whom the deposit was made or of the authorised person by whom and on whose behalf the deposit was made;

(b) the number of candidates;

(c) the amount of the deposit; and

(d) the time and the date of the deposit.

15. Disposal of deposits.

(1) Every deposit made with a returning officer under section 14 shall forthwith be credited by such officer to a deposit account and shall be disposed of according to the provisions of subsections (2), (3) and (4).

(2) Where a nomination paper of an independent group is rejected under the provisions of section 17, the deposit shall be returned to the person who made the deposit.

(3) Where none of the candidates nominated by an independent group for an administrative district are elected to the Provincial Council from that administrative district, the deposit made in respect of the candidates of such group shall be declared forfeit and shall be transferred by the returning officer from the deposit account to the Consolidated Fund, and in every other ease, the deposit shall be returned to the person who made the deposit, as soon as may be after the result of the election is declared.

[S 15(3) subs by s 2 of Act 7 of 1993.]

(4) For the purposes of this section, the number of votes polled at a poll in an administrative district shall be deemed to be the number of votes actually counted and shall not include any votes rejected as void.

16. Connect to nomination of offence under certain circumstances.

where any Person who is not qualified to be elected as a member of a Provincial Council—

(a) by reason of his conviction for a corrupt or illegal practice or by reason at the report of an Election Judge under the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council, 1946, or under the Parliamentary Elections Act, No. 1 of 1931, or by reason of the report of the Supreme Court under the law relating to the election of the President; or

(b) by reason of the imposition of civic disability on him in terms of Article 81(1) of the Constitution; or

(c) by reason of his being subject to any of the disqualifications specified in the Local Authorities (Imposition of Civic Disabilities) (No. 1) Law, No. 38 of 1978, or the Local Authorities (Imposition of Civic Disabilities) (No, 2) Law, No. 33 of 1978,

signifies his consent to be nominated as a candidate at an election under this Act, he shall be guilty of an offence, and shall, on conviction before a Magistrate be liable to a fine not exceeding one- thousand rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding three months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

17. Rejection of nominated papers.

(1) The returning officer shall, immediately after the expiry of the nomination period, examine the nomination papers received by him and reject any nomination paper—

(a) that has not been delivered in accordance with the provisions of subsection (1) or subsection (5) of section 13; or

(b) that does not contain the total number of candidates required to be nominated in terms of section 13; or

(c) in respect of which the deposit required under section 14 has not been made; or

(d) where the consent of one or more candidate has or have not been endorsed on the nomination paper or where the oath or affirmation in the form set out in the seventh schedule to the constitution of one or more candidates has or have not been annexed to the nomination paper; or

(e) where the signature of the secretary in the case of a recognised political party, or of the group leader in the case of an independent group does not appeal' on the nomination paper or where such signature has not been attested as required by subsection (3) of section 13.

(2) Where any nomination paper has been rejected by the returning officer under subsection (1), the returning officer shall inform the secretary of the recognised political. party or the group leader, as the case may be, who had submitted such nomination paper the fact of such rejection. The decision of the returning officer to reject such nomination paper shall be final and conclusive.

18. Uncontested elections.

(1) Where the candidates of only one recognised political party or one independent group stand nominated for election, the returning officer shall call upon the Secretary of such recognised political party or the group leader of such independent group to decide, within such period as may be specified by the returning officer, which of the candidates whose names appear in such nomination paper shall be declared elected as members of that Provincial Council. If such Secretary or group leader communicates his decision to the returning officer within the period specified by the returning officer, the returning officer shall declare elected as members of that Provincial Council, the respective candidates specified in such, decision. If on the other hand, such secretary or group leader fails to communicate his decision to the returning officer within the period specified by the returning officer, then such number of candidates, in the order in which their names appear in such nomination paper, as is equal to the number of members to be elected to that Provincial Council, shall be declared elected as members.

(2) The returning officer shall forth with make a return which shall be substantially in form B set out in the First Schedule to this Act, to the Commissioner who shall cause the names of the members so elected to be published in the Gazette.

19. Procedure where no nomination papers are received.

Where in the case of any administrative district the returning officer finds at the expiry of the nomination period—

(a) that no nominations paper has been duly received on behalf of any recognised political party, or any independent group; or

(b) that all the nomination papers received by him have been rejected,

the returning officer shall not later than seven days after the expiry of the nomination period publish a notice prescribing a second nomination period. Such period shall commence on the seventh day after the date of the publication of the notice and expires at twelve noon on the fourteenth day after the date of publication of such notice. The provisions of this Act shall apply in relation to the second nomination period subject however that the duration of the nomination period referred to in section 10 shall not be applicable to the second nomination period.

20. Contested elections.

(1) If, at the expiry of the nomination period and after the rejection of any nomination paper, candidates of more than one recognised political party or independent group stand duly nominated for election, the returning officer shall forthwith allot—

(a) to each recognised political party for the purpose of that election, the approved symbol of that party; and

(b) in respect of each independent group, an approved symbol and where there is more than one independent group an approved symbol and a distinguishing: number determined—

(i) in the first instance by agreement among the group leaders; or

(ii) in the absence of such agreement by lots cast or drawn in such manner as the returning officer may, in his absolute discretion, determine,

and such symbol shall be printed on the ballot paper opposite—

(i) the name of such party; and

(ii) in the case of an independent group, the words "Independent Group” and the distinguishing number, if any, allotted to that group.

(2) The approved symbol of a recognised political party shall not, whether or not such party is contesting an election, be allotted under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) to any independent group.

(3) Alter the allocation of symbols under subsection (1) the returning officer shall forthwith adjourn such election to enable a poll to be taken in accordance with the provisions hereinafter set out.

21. Persons entitled to be present at nomination.

No person other than the returning officer, the secretary of a recognised political party, the authorised agent, second on a nomination paper and one other person, if any, the group leader, the candidates whose name appears second on a nomination paper and one other person, if any, selected by such secretary or authorised agent or group leader shall, except with the consent of and for the purpose of assisting the returning officer, be entitled to be present at the proceedings under sections 13, 17, 18 and 20.

PART III

The Poll

22. Notice of poll.

(1) The returning officer shall, as soon as may be after the conclusion of the proceedings under section 20, publish a notice in the Gazette specifying—

(a) the administrative district in which the election is contested;

(b) the names of the candidates, placed in alphabetical order in Sinhala, of each recognised political party, or independent group, the serial number assigned to each such candidates, the approved symbol allotted to such party or group, and in the case of an independent group the words "Independent Group” and the distinguishing number if any;

(c) the date of poll, such date being a date falling on a Saturday or any day other than a Full Moon Poya day or any public holiday specified in the First Schedule to the Holidays Act, No. 29 of 1971, and being a date not less than five weeks or more than eight weeks from the date of publication of the notice;

[S 22(1)(c) am by s 3 of Act 5 of 2004.]

(d) the situation of the polling station or stations for each of the polling districts in the administrative district and the particular polling station, if any, reserved for female voters.

(2) If, after the publication of the notice referred to in subsection (1), the day specified in such notice is declared to be a public holiday, such declaration shall in no way affect the validity of anything done on such day for the purposes of the election.

(3) Unless the returning officer considers it necessary or expedient in the special circumstances of any case to provide a separate polling station for the female voters of any polling district, there shall be for each polling district one polling station and no more.

(4) The polling station or stations for each polling district shall be situated within such polling district save where the returning officer, having regard to the special circumstances in any polling district, may decide upon a polling station outside such polling district. The location of the polling station shall be such as to cause the minimum inconvenience to the electors of the polling district.

(5) Where due to any emergency it is necessary that the situation of any polling station should be different from that specified in a notice published under subsection (1) the returning officer may cause the situation of that station to be altered in such manner as he may, in his absolute discretion, determine.

(6) Where at an election of members of a Provincial Council from the administrative districts within the province for which that Provincial Council is established, due to any emergency or unforeseen circumstances the poll in any such administrative district cannot be taken on the day specified in the notice published under subsection (1), the Commissioner may, by notice published in the Gazette, appoint another day for the taking of the poll in such administrative district and in every other administrative district within that province, such other day being a day not earlier than the fourteenth, day after the publication of the notice In Gazette.

23. Death of candidate after nomination.

Whenever the death occurs of a candidate between the adjournment for the purposes of the poll and the commencement of the poll, the returning officer shall, upon being satisfied of the fact of such death, expunge the name of that candidate from the nomination paper and notwithstanding such death, the nomination paper with the omission of the name of the deceased candidate shall be valid in respect of the other candidates in that nomination paper and the poll shall be taken as specified in the notice under section 22.

24. Voting by post.

(1) A person who is entitled under this section to be treated as a postal vote for the purpose, of an election under this Act, may vote by post, and shall not vote in person, at such election.

Any person who votes in person at any election in contravention of the preceding provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction after summary trial before a Magistrate, be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(2) An application to be treated as a postal voter in any administrative district may be made—

(a) by a member of the Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, or an officer or servant in the Department of Police, the Sri Lanka Government Railway, the Department of Posts and the Department of Telecommunications or the Sri Lanka Central Transport Board or any Regional Transport Board, on the ground that he is unable or likely to be unable to vote in person at the polling station allotted to him by reason of the particular circumstances of his employment as such member, officer or servant; and

(b) by any other officer or servant in the public service or of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka or the Provincial Service on the ground of the particular circumstances of his employment on the date of the poll for a purpose connected with the election or of his being likely to be employed for that purpose; and

(c) by a candidate at an election on the ground that he is unable or likely to be unable to vote in person at the polling station allotted to him by reason of his candidature in some other administrative district.

(3) An application to be treated as a postal voter shall be made to the returning officer so as to reach him within ten days after the date of publication of the notice of nomination under section 10. Such application shall be substantially in the form prescribed for the purpose by the regulations contained in the Second Schedule to this Act.

(4) No application to be treated as a postal voter shall be allowed by a returning officer unless he is satisfied that the application is in accordance with the preceding provisions of this section.

(5) The returning officer may, for the purpose at the disposal of applications to be treated as postal voters, by notice require any person to give such officer any information as may be necessary for that purpose.

(6) The decision of a returning officer on an application to be treated as a postal voter shall be communicated in. writing to the applicant.

(7) The decision of the returning officer to allow or disallow an application to be treated as a postal voter shall be final.

(8) Where an application to be treated as a postal voter is allowed by a returning officer, the applicant shall be a person entitled to be treated as a postal voter for the purpose of an election.

(9) The returning officer shall, as soon as practicable, send by post to each person who is entitled to be treated as a postal voter, to the address furnished by such person—

(a) a ballot paper;

(b) a form of declaration of identity;

(c) an envelope which shall be smaller than the envelope referred to in paragraph (d) of this subsection and which shall be marked "ballot paper envelope” and also with the number printed on the postal ballot paper issued to such person, and in which the postal ballot paper shall be enclosed when it is returned duly marked; and

(d) an envelope for the return of the aforementioned documents.

(10) The form of the ballot paper and the form of the declaration of identity which are to be used by persons entitled to be treated as postal voters, and the procedure to be followed at the proceedings on their issue, shall be according to the regulations contained in the Second Schedule to this Act.

(11) A ballot paper issued to a person entitled to be treated as a postal voter is in this Act referred to as as a "postal ballot paper”.

(12) The returning officer of every administrative district where there is an election shall, as soon as practicable, prepare a list (in this Act referred to as the "postal voters' list”) specifying the name, address and number on the register of electors of every person entitled to be treated as a postal voter. Such list shall be prepared in such manner as may be prescribed in that behalf by the regulations contained in the Second Schedule to this Act.

25. Official poll card.

(1) The returning officer shall send to each elector whose name appears in the register a poll card (in this Act referred to as an "official poll card”) in such form as may be determined by the Commissioner, and specifying—

(a) the name of the administrative district;

(b) the name, qualifying address, and registration number of the elector as stated in the register;

(c) the polling division;

(d) the polling district;

(e) the polling station allotted to the elector; and

(f) the data and hours of the poll:

Provided that no such card shall be send to an elector who is entitled to be treated as a postal voter.

(2) An official poll card under subsection (1) shall be so sent to an elector by ordinary post as to reach him at least seven days before the date of the poll. Where a post office fails to deliver such card to the person to whom it is addressed it shall be retained until the date of the poll in such post office to be delivered to the addressee if he calls for it.

(3) Every person who—

(a) without authority supplies any official poll card to any other person; or

(b) sells or offers to sell any official poll card to any other person or purchases or offers to purchase any official poll card from any other person,

shall be guilty of an offense and shall, on conviction after: summary trial before a Magistrate, be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months or to both; such fine and imprisonment.

(4) Every person, other than a public officer acting in the. course of his duty as such officer, who has in his possession the official poll card of any other person, shall be guilty or: an offence and shall, on conviction after summary trial before a Magistrate be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months or to both such fine, and imprisonment.

26. Presiding officers.

(1) Subject to the general or special directions of the Commissioner, each returning officer shall appoint, and may revoke the appointment of, one or more persons, here master called presiding officers, to preside at each polling-station in the administrative district, If more than one presiding officer is appointed for any polling station, the returning officer may appoint one of the presiding officers to be the senior presiding officer who shall exercise general supervision over the other presiding officers, and over all arrangements for the conduct of the poll in that station.

(2) If any presiding officer is by reason of illness or other cause, prevented from acting at an election, and there is no time for another person to be appointed by the returning officer, the Presiding Officer may appoint a deputy to act for him. Every such appointment shall as soon as possible be reported to the Returning Officer and may be revoked by the returning officer, but without prejudice to the validity of anything already done by such deputy.

(3) The returning officer may, if he thinks fit, preside at any polling station, and the provisions of this Act relating to a presiding officer shall apply to such returning officer

27. Facilities to be provided at polling station.

(1) For the purposes of an election in any administrative district the returning officer shall—

(a) appoint such officers and servants as may be necessary for taking the poll;

(b) furnish each polling station in that administrative district such number of compartments as may be necessary to accommodate a reasonable number of voters at any one time and to ensure that the voters are screened from observation when they mark their ballot papers;

(c) furnish each presiding officer with a copy of that part of the register of electors containing the names of electors in such register assigned to his polling station and a list of such of the names of electors in that copy as appear in the postal voters' list. A distinguishing mark shall be placed against the name of every elector who is entitled to be treated as a postal voter in the part of that register supplied to each such presiding officer;

(d) furnish each presiding officer with such number of ballot boxes and ballot papers as, in the opinion of the returning officer, may be necessary for the number of voters assigned to that polling station;

(e) provide each polling station with materials to enable voters to mark the ballot papers, with instruments for perforating or stamping thereon the official mark;

(f) do such other acts and things as may be necessary for effectually conducting the election in the manner provided by this Act.

(2) An election shall not be questioned by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of subsection (1) or any informality relative to polling stations.

28. Notice to be exhibited at polling stations.

(1) During the taking of the poll, the presiding officer at every polling station shall cause to be exhibited—

(a) outside the polling station a notice substantially in the form set out in the Third Schedule to this Act, giving directions for the guidance of voters; and

(b) outside the polling station a notice specifying the name of each recognised political party contesting the election and in the case of an independent group contesting the election, the words "Independent Group” for each such group and the distinguishing number, if any, allotted to it together with the names of the candidates (as indicated by the candidates) in alphabetical order in Sinhala of each such recognised political party or independent group, the serial number assigned to each such candidate and the approved symbol allotted to each such party or group.

(2) Every notice under this section shall be in Sinhala, Tamil and English.

29. Ballot boxes.

Every ballot box shall be so constructed that the ballot papers can be put therein, but cannot be withdrawn therefrom, without the box being unlocked.

30. Ballot papers.

(1) The votes at every election under this Act in an administrative district shall be given by ballot. The ballot of each voter shall consist of a ballot paper in the form and containing the particulars hereinafter prescribed.

(2) Every ballot paper shall be substantially in Form C set out in the First Schedule to this Act, and—

(a) shall contain the names of the recognised political parties contesting the election, in Sinhala, Tamil and English, arranged alphabetically in Sinhala in the order of the names of such parties and with the symbol allotted to each such party, set out against the name of each such party and immediately thereafter, if there are any independent groups contesting the election, the words, "Independent Group” repeated for each group and the distinguishing number, if any, in the serial order and the symbol allotted to each such group set out against the distinguishing number of such group and immediately below this, such number or numbers placed in serial order, as is equal to the number of members to be elected to the Provincial Council increased by three;

(b) shall be capable of being folded;

(c) shall have a number printed on the reverse; and

(d) shall have attached a counterfoil with the same number printed on the face.

31. Hours of poll.

Unless the Commissioner, by notification in the Gazette, appoints any other hour, the poll in any administrative district shall open at seven O'clock in the forenoon of the day specified under section 22 and shall close at four O'clock in the afternoon of that day.

32. Appointment of the polling agent.

(1) The secretary of each recognised political party agents. or its authorised agent or any group leader may appoint a reasonable number of polling agents for each polling station having regard to the need to revoke the appointment of any polling agent for that polling station during the poll. Notice in writing of every such appointment stating the names, addresses and national identity-card numbers of the Provincial Councils Elections 19 Act, No. 2 of 1988 persons appointed shall be given by such secretary or authorised agent or group leader to the presiding officer at that station before the opening of the poll or during the poll.

(2) The secretary of a recognised political party or its authorised agent or a group leader may delegate the powers vested in such secretary, authorised agent or group leader under subsection (1), to any candidate nominated by such party or independent group for such election, so however, that such powers shall not be delegated to more than one candidate in respect of each polling division. Any delegation under this subsection shall be notified in writing to the returning officer not later than seven days before the date of the poll.

(3) Where such secretary, authorised agent or group leader or candidate referred to in subsection (2) after informing such presiding officer of the name of any polling agent appointed to act at such station, revokes the appointment of that polling agent and appoints another polling agent to such station, such secretary authorised agent or group leader or candidate, as the case may be shall inform such officer in writing of the revocation of such appointment and of the name and address of the new polling agent appointed to such station.

(4) Not more than two polling agents of each recognised political party or independent group shall at any time be admitted to or be allowed to remain in any polling station.

(5) No polling agent whose name has not been notified to the presiding officer as required by subsection (1) or sub section (3) shall be admitted to a polling station.

33. General conduct of the poll.

(1) No person shall be admitted to vote at any polling station other than the polling station set apart for the group of voters to which he belongs

(2) The presiding officer shall keep order in his station, and shall regulate the number of voters to be admitted at a time and shall exclude all other persons except the secretary of a recognised political party and the candidates, the polling agents, the police officers on duty and other persons officially employed at the polling station; provided that only one candidate from each recognised political party or independent group shall be admitted to the polling station at any one time.

(3) If any person misconducts himself in the polling station, or fails to obey the lawful orders of the presiding officer, the presiding officer may cause him to be removed forthwith from the polling station by any police officer or by any other person authorised in writing by the presiding officer or by the returning officer.

(4) Any person removed from a polling station under sub section (3)—

(a) shall not, except with the permission of the presiding officer, be allowed to enter the polling station again during the hours of the poll; and

(b) may, if he is charged with the commission of any offence in that station, be kept in custody until he can be brought before a Magistrate:

Provided that the powers conferred by this subsection shall not be exercised so as to prevent any voter who is otherwise entitled to vote at any polling station from having an opportunity of voting at such station.

34. Sealing of ballot boxes and commencement of the poll.

(1) Immediately before the commencement of the poll, the presiding officer at a polling station—

(a) shall show the ballot papers, the official seal, the official mark and the copies of the parts of the register of electors, to be used at the poll to such persons, if any, as may be present in such station; and

(b) shall also show each ballot box to be used at the commencement of the poll empty to the persons aforesaid so that they may see that it is empty, and shall then lock it up and place his seal upon it in such manner as to prevent it being opened without breaking such seal, and shall place it in his view for the receipt of ballot papers and keep it so locked and sealed.

The duties imposed on the presiding officer by the preceding provisions of this section shall be performed by him in such manner as to ensure that the poll is opened at the hour fixed by this Act.

(2) The provisions of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) shall apply to every ballot box which is to be used after the commencement of the poll.

35. Issue of ballet papers.

(1) Each voter shall be given one ballot paper and shall have one vote.

(2) the ballot paper shall be delivered to the voter by the presiding officer or a person acting under his authority. Immediately the ballot paper is delivered to the voter—

(a) the number, name and description of the voter as stated in the copy of the register of electors shall be called out;

(aa) a valid identity document of the voter shall be inspected and the name and identity ascertained;

[S 35(2)(aa) ins by s 12 of Act 14 of 2004.]

(b) the number of the voter shall be marked on the counterfoil, and the ballot paper detached therefrom;

(c) the ballot paper shall be either stamped, embossed or perforated with the official mark; and

(d) a mark shall be placed in the register against the name of the voter to denote that he has received a ballot paper, but without showing the particular ballot paper he has received.

36. Inspection of voter and marking with the appropriate mark.

(1) No ballot paper shall be delivered to a voter at an election-

(a) if he refuses to allow the presiding officer or a person acting under his authority to make the appropriate inspection of the mark or valid identity document; or

[S 36(1)(a) am by s 13 of Act 14 of 2004.]

(b) if, having allowed such inspection, it discloses that either such voter has already been marked with the appropriate mark or facts giving rise to suspicion over the identity of the voter; or

[S 36(1)(b) am by s 13 of Act 14 of 2004.]

(c) if, having allowed such inspection, it discloses that such voter has not already been marked with the appropriate mark, but such voter refuses to allow such officer or person to mark such voter with the appropriate mark,

and accordingly such voter shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other provisions of this Act, not be entitled to vote at such election.

(2) The presiding officer of a polling station shall enter on a list, substantially in from D set out in the First Schedule to this Act, the following particulars relating to each voter to whom a ballot paper was not delivered at such station under subsection (1)—

(a) the number of such voter in the register of electors;

(b) the name of such voter as it appears in such register; and

(c) the ground on which a ballot paper was not delivered to such voter.

Such list is in this Act called the "list of voters to Whom ballot papers are not delivered under section 36”.

(3) In this section—

(a) the expression " appropriate mark” means a mark made with indelible ink;

(b) the term "appropriate ” with reference to any context connected with or relating to the inspection or marking of a voter, means”

(i) the little finger of his left hand or, if such finger is missing, any other finger of his left hand; or

(ii) if all the fingers of his left hand are missing, the little finger of his right hand or. if such finger is missing, any other finger of his right hand; or

(iii) if all the fingers of his left and right hands are missing, such extremity of his left or right hand as such voter possesses.

37. Manner of voting.

(1) The voter, on receiving the ballot paper, shall forthwith proceed into the compartment to which he is directed by the presiding officer or any person acting under that officer's authority and there secretly mark the ballot paper as near as may be in accordance with the directions given for the guidance of voters in the Third Schedule to this Act and fold the ballot paper so as to conceal his vote, and shall then show to the presiding officer the reverse of the paper, so as to disclose the official mark, and put the ballot paper, so folded, into the ballot box in the presence of the presiding officer.

(2) The presiding officer may at any time while a poll is proceeding, take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that no voter delays unduly in any place reserved for the marking of ballet papers.

38. Assistance to voters to enable them to vote.

(1) The presiding officer, or any person authorised by the presiding officer, may, if he thinks fit on the application of any voter, explain to the voter, within sight and hearing of the polling agents, if present, the method of voting specified in the directions given for the guidance of voters in the Third Schedule to this Act, but in so doing he shall carefully abstain from any action which might be construed by the voter as advice or a direction to vote for any particular recognised political party or independent group.

(2) —

(a) Any voter who is subject to a disability and such disability prevents the voter from voting in accordance with the directions given for the guidance of voters in the Third Schedule to the principal enactment may be accompanied by a person who shall mark the ballot paper of such voter in the manner directed by the voter in the presence of the presiding officer and another member of his polling staff and cause such ballot paper to be placed in the ballot box.

(b) A person subject to a disability who wishes to be accompanied by a person to vote, shall be eligible to do so if such person produces a Certificate of Eligibility substantially in the Form set out in the Fourth Schedule to this Act, to the presiding officer or another member of his staff.

(c) For the purposes of this section —

"accompanying person” shall be a person not less than eighteen years of age and shall—

(i) not be a candidate who is contesting at the relevant election;

(ii) not be a presiding officer, an authorised officer or a polling agent at the relevant election;

(iii) not be a person subject to a disability;

"disability” in relation to a registered voter who is subject to a disability and who is eligible to vote in terms of
paragraph (b) of this section, means—

(i) total or partial visual impairment; or

(ii) a physical disability,

which prevents the voter from validly marking his ballot paper.

[S 38(2) subs by s 14 of Act 28 of 2011.]

39. Voting by proxy forbidden.

No voter shall be entitled to vote by proxy at any election under this Act.

40. Plural voting to be an illegal practice.

If any person at an election under this Act—

(a) votes in more than one administrative district or ask for a ballot paper for the purpose of so voting; or

(b) votes more than once in the administrative district or ask for a ballot paper for the purpose of so voting, he shall be guilty of an illegal practice under this Act.

41. Power to require voter to make declarations.

(1) The presiding officer at any polling station may in his discretion, and, if required so to do by a polling agent, shall, require any voter, before he is given a ballot paper, to make and subscribe all or any of the declarations in Forms E, F and G set out in the First Schedule to this Act. Every such declaration shall be exempted from stamp duty.

(2) If any person refuses to make any such declaration, the presiding officer may refuse to give him a ballot paper.

(3) If any person willfully makes a false statement in any such declaration, he shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction after summary trial before a Magistrate, be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

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