REFERENDUM ACT

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

PART I

Preliminary

2. President to direct the conduct of a Referendum.

3. Electoral districts, polling divisions.

4. Polling stations.

5. Register of electors.

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

7. Referendum Returning Officer and Returning Officers.

PART II

The Poll

8. Appointment of Referendum Agents.

9. Voting by post.

10. Official poll card.

11. Presiding Officers.

12. Facilities to be provided at polling stations.

13. Notices to be exhibited at polling stations.

14. Ballot boxes.

15. Ballot Papers.

16. Hours of poll.

17. Appointment of polling observers.

18. General conduct of the poll.

19. Sealing of ballot boxes and commencement of poll.

20. Issue of ballot papers.

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

22. Manner of voting.

23. Assistance to voters to enable them to vote.

24. Voting by proxy forbidden.

25. Plural voting to be an illegal practice.

26. Power to require voter to make declaration.

27. Spoilt ballot papers.

28. Tendered votes.

29. Closure of poll.

30. Procedure in closure of poll.

PART III

The Count

31. Counting Officers.

32. Notice of count.

33. Appointment of counting observers.

34. The count.

35. Ballot papers to be rejected.

36. Special provisions relating to powers, duties and functions under sections 34 and 38.

37. Closure of the count.

38. Counting of postal ballot papers.

39. Returning Officer to prepare statement.

40. Referendum Returning Officer to prepare a report.

41. Publication of result.

42. Disposal of ballot papers.

PART IV

Offences

43. Offences relating to ballot papers, official poll cards.

44. Certain acts prohibited on polling day.

45. Restriction on processions.

46. Restriction on public meetings.

47. General provisions relating to offences under sections 43, 44, 45 and 46.

48. Printing of Referendum publication.

49. Restriction on number of referendum offices.

50. Provisions relating to display of handbills, posters.

51. Maintenance of secrecy at Referendum.

Corrupt Practices

52. Personation.

53. Treating.

54. Undue influence.

55. Bribery.

56. Punishment and incapacities for corrupt practice.

Illegal Practices

57. Certain expenditure to be illegal practice.

58. False reports in newspapers.

59. Certain employment to be illegal.

60. Printing of Referendum publications.

61. Punishment on conviction for illegal practices.

PART V

Referendum Petitions

61A. Avoidance of Referendum on Referendum Petition.

61B. Supreme Court to hear and determine Referendum Petitions.

61C. Who may present Petition.

61D. Relief which may be claimed.

61E. Contents of the Petition.

61F. Special provisions relation to the procedure before the Supreme.

61G. Determination of Supreme Court.

61H. Report of Supreme Court as to corrupt or illegal practice.

61J. Certificate and report to be forwarded to the President.

61K. Effect of certificate.

61L. Effect of report.

61M. Time of presentation.

61N. Prohibition of disclosure of vote.

61P. Votes to be struck off at a scrutiny.

61Q. Procedure and pratice on Referendum Petitions.

61R. Rejection of ballot paper by Counting Officer to be final.

General

62. Where more than one proposal is submitted.

63. Power to order Referendum in exceptional circumstances.

64. Failure to comply with provisions of Act.

65. Use of schools as polling stations.

66. Presiding officer may act through officers appointed to assist him.

67. Secretary of a recognised political party may act as his own agent or assist his agent.

68. Non-attendance of the agents of recognised political party.

69. Inaccurate description of places and persons.

70. Publication of notices.

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

72. Requisitioning of premises for use of polling stations.

73. Compensation for requisitioning premises.

74. Right of secretary of recognised political party to send matter relating to Referendum post free.

75. Political broadcasts.

76. Powers of Commissioner.

76A. Police to assist Commissioner.

76B. Procedure for casting vote where there's a reasonable fear of an inability to cast vote at a given polling station.

77. Removal of difficulties.

78. Interpretation.

SCHEDULE

7 of 1981,

17 of 1988,

14 of 2004,

28 of 2011.

AN ACT to provide for the conduct of a Referendum in terms of chapter xiii of the constitution, and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

[Date of Commencement: 27th February, 1981]

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Referendum Act.

PART I

Preliminary

2. President to direct the conduct of a Referendum.

(1) A Referendum in terms of Chapter XIII of me Constitution shall be conducted by the Commissioner of Elections (hereinafter referred to as the Commissioner), where the President has, by Proclamation published in the Gazette, directed such Commissioner to conduct a Referendum.

(2) A Proclamation issued under subsection (1) shall—

(a) specify the proposal to be put to the People at the Referendum in the form of a question which shall be answered by a "Yes” or a "No”; and

(b) appoint a day for the taking of the poll at such Referendum. Such day shall be—

(i) a day not earlier than thirty days from the date of publication of the Proclamation;

(ii) a 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 if, after the publication of the Proclamation, the day specified in such Proclamation is declared to be a public holiday, such declaration shall in no way affect the validity of anything done on such day for the purpose of holding the Referendum.

3. Electoral districts, polling divisions.

(1) Each electoral district for the time being in force shall be deemed to be an electoral district for the purposes of this Act.

(2) Each polling division and each polling district for the time being in operation shall be deemed to be a polling division and a polling district for the purposes of this Act.

4. Polling stations.

(1) Within three weeks from the date of publication of the Proclamation under section 2, the Commissioner shall cause to be published in the Gazette a notice specifying the situation of the polling station or stations for each of the polling districts in each electoral district and the particular polling station, if any, reserved for female voters.

(2) Unless the Commissioner 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.

(3) The polling station or stations for each polling district shall be situated within such polling district save where the Commissioner 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.

(4) 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 Commissioner may cause the situation of that polling station to be altered in such manner as he may, in his absolute discretion, determine.

5. Register of electors.

The register of electors to be used in any electoral district for the purposes of this Act shall be the register of electors in operation for that electoral district on the date of the publication of the Proclamation under section 2, notwithstanding that a new register may have come into operation after the publication of such Proclamation.

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

The register of electors of any electoral district in operation on the date of the publication of the Proclamation under section 2 shall be conclusive evidence for the purpose of determining whether a person is or is not entitled to vote at a Referendum, 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 writ lea 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 any 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 is incapable of voting at a Referendum, votes at a Referendum, he shall, on conviction before a Magistrate, be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred 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 infringement of the provisions of section 9 relating to voting in person or of section 25 relating to plural voting,

7. Referendum Returning Officer and retiring Officers.

(1) The Commissioner, as occasion may require, shall Referendum by notice in the Gazette, appoint by name or by office a person to be the Referendum Returning Officer for the Republic, and may appoint by name or by office one or more persons to assist the Referendum Returning Officer in the performance of his duties. A person so appointed to assist the Referendum 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 Referendum Returning Officer shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be deemed to include a reference to an Assistant Referendum Returning Officer.

(2) The Commissioner, as occasion may require, shall appoint by name or by office a person to be the returning officer of each electoral 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 the 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.

(3) An appointment made by the Commissioner under subsection (1) or subsection (2) may be revoked by him at any time.

(4) If the Referendum Returning Officer or any returning officer is by reason of illness or other cause prevented or disabled from performing any of his duties under this Act by the Commissioner, the Referendum Returning Officer or the returning officer, as the case may be, may appoint by name or by 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.

PART II

The Poll

8. Appointment of Referendum Agents.

(1) The Secretary of any recognised political party may appoint a referendum agent for each electoral district and shall furnish the name and address of each referendum agent so appointed so as to reach the Referendum Returning Officer not later than ten days from the date of publication of a Proclamation under section 2.

(2) A referendum agent duly appointed under subsection (1) and whose name and address have been furnished to the Referendum Returning Officer as required by that sub section shall have the power to appoint polling observers and counting observers as hereinafter provided,

(3) The failure to appoint a referendum agent or polling observers or counting observers, or their non-attendance at any proceedings under this Act, shall not invalidate any proceedings at a Referendum.

9. Voting by post.

(1) A person who is entitled under this section to be treated as a postal voter for the purpose of any Referendum may vote by post, and shall not vote in person, at such Referendum. Any person who votes in person at any Referendum in contravention of the preceding, provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on. conviction by 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 electoral district may be made—

(a) by a member of the Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy or Sri Lanka Air Force, or an officer or servant in the Department of Police, Department of Prisons, 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;

[S 9(2)(a) am by s 2 of Act 17 of 1988.]

(b) by any other officer or servant in the public service or of the Central Bank of Ceylon, or the Local Government Service, on the ground of the particular circumstances of his employment on the date of the poll for a purpose connected with a Referendum or of his being likely to be employed for that purpose.

(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 from the date of publication of the Proclamation under section 2. Such application shall be substantially in the form prescribed for the purpose by the regulations contained in the First 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 of the disposal of applications to be treated as postal voters, by notice require any person to give such officer any such 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 a Referendum.

(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 First 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 "postal ballot paper”.

(12) The returning officer 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 accordance with the regulations contained in the First Schedule to this Act.

10. Official poll card.

(1) The returning officer of each electoral district shall send to each elector whose name appears in the register for that electoral district 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 and number of the electoral 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 date and hours of the poll:

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

(2) An official poll card shall be so sent to an elector by ordinary post so 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 in such post office until the date of the poll and

(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 arty official poll card from any other person, shrill 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.

(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 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.

11. 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, hereinafter called presiding officers, to preside at each polling station in his electoral 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 overall 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 any Referendum, and there is not 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.

12. Facilities to be provided at polling stations.

(1) For the purposes of a Referendum the returning officer shall—

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

(b) furnish each polling station with 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 Referendum in the manner provided by this Act.

(2) A Referendum shall not be questioned by reason of noncompliance with the provisions of subsection (1) or any informality relative to polling stations.

13. Notices 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 and in every compartment thereof, a notice substantially in the form set out in the Second Schedule to this Act, giving directions for the guidance of voters; and

(b) outside the polling station a notice specifying the proposal to be put to the people.

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

14. Ballot boxes.

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

15. Ballot Papers.

(1) The votes at every Referendum 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 A set out in the Third Schedule to this Act, and—

(a) shall have printed on it the question to be put to the voters as specified by the President in terms of
section 2(2)(a), and shall have printed on it the word "Yes” together with the symbol, lamp, and the word " No” together with the symbol, pot, alongside such question in two separate cages one below the other;

(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.

16. Hours of poll.

Unless the Commissioner, by notification in the Gazette, appoints any other hour, the poll at the Referendum shall open at seven o'clock in the forenoon of the day appointed under section 2(2)(b) and shall close at four o'clock in the afternoon of that day.

17. Appointment of polling observers.

(1) The referendum agent appointed for an electoral district may appoint a reasonable number of polling observers for each polling station having regard to the need to revoke the appointment of any polling observer for that polling station during the poll. Notice in writing of every such appointment stating the names, the numbers of the national or other identity card issued by a government department or public corporation, and addresses of the persons appointed shall be given by such agent to the presiding officer at that station before the opening of the poll or during the poll.

[S 17(1) am by s 3 of Act 17 of 1988.]

(2) A referendum agent may delegate in writing the powers vested in him under subsection (1) to any person, so however, that such powers shall not be delegated to more than one person 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 agent or the person to whom power is delegated under subsection (2), after informing such presiding officer of the name of any polling observer appointed to act at such station, revokes the appointment of that polling observer and appoints another polling observer to such station, such agent or such person shall inform such officer in writing of the revocation of such appointment and of the name, the number of the national or other identity card issued by a Government Department or Public Corporation, and address” of the new polling observer appointed to such station.

[S 17(3) am by s 3 of Act 17 of 1988.]

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

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

18. 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 polling observers, the police officers on duty and other persons officially employed at the polling station.

(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 subsection (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.

19. Sealing of ballot boxes and commencement of 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 my, as may be present in such station;

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

20. Issue of ballot 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 before 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 20(2)(aa) ins by s 18 of Act 14 of 2004.]

(b) the number of the voter shall be marked on the counterfoil, and the ballot paper detached therefrom; let the ballot paper shall be either stamped, embossed or perforated with the official mark; and

(c) 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 has received.

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

(1) No ballot paper shall be delivered to any voter at a Referendum—

(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 21(1)(a) am by s 19 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 21(1)(b) am by s 19 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 Referendum.

(2) The presiding officer of a polling station shall enter on a list, substantially in Form B set out in the Third 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 21.

(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.

22. 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 Second Schedule to this Act and told 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 ballot papers.

23. 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 observers, a present, the method of voting specified in the directions specified in the Second 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 in favour of or against the proposal specified in the ballot paper.

(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 Second 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) a total or partial visual impairment; or

(ii) a physical disability,

which prevents the voter from validly marking his ballot paper.

[S 23(2) subs by s 8 of Act 28 of 2011.]

24. Voting by proxy forbidden.

No voter shall be entitled to vote by proxy at a Referendum.

25. Plural voting to be an illegal practice.

If any person at a Referendum under this Act—

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

(b) votes more than once in the same electoral district or asks for a ballot paper for the purpose of so voting, he shall be guilty of an illegal practice.

26. Power to require voter to make declaration.

(1) presiding officer at any polling station may in his discretion, and, if required so to do by a polling observer, shall, require any voter, before he is given a ballot paper, to make and subscribe all or any of the declarations in forms C, D, E and F set out in the Third Schedule to this Act Every such declaration shall be exempt 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.

27. Spoilt ballot papers.

A voter who has inadvertently dealt with his ballot paper in such a manner that it cannot be conveniently used as a ballot paper may, on delivering to the presiding officer the ballot paper so inadvertently dealt with, and proving the fact of such inadvertence to the satisfaction of the presiding officer, obtain another ballot paper in place of the ballot paper so delivered up (in this Act called a "spoilt ballot paper”), and the spoilt ballot paper shall be immediately cancelled by the presiding officer.

28. Tendered votes.

If a person representing himself to be a particular elector named In the register applies for a ballot paper after another person has voted as such elector, the applicant shall on making and subscribing a declaration, which shall be exempt from stamp duty and which shall be substantially in form G set out in the Third Schedule to this Act, be entitled to receive a ballot paper and to vote in the same manner as any other voter, but the ballot paper, in this Act called a " tendered ballot paper”, shall be of a colour different from the other ballot papers, and, before being placed m the ballot box, shall be endorsed by the presiding officer with the name of the voter and his number in the register, and that number shall be entered on a list, in this Act called the "tendered votes list” which shall be substantially in form H set out in the Third Schedule to this Act. Tendered ballot papers shall be dealt with in the manner hereinafter provided.

29. Closure of poll.

No ballot paper shall be delivered to a voter after the hour fixed for the closing of the poll. But if at the hour aforesaid there is in any polling station any voter to whom a ballot paper has been delivered, such voter shall be allowed to record his vote.

30. Procedure in closure of poll.

(1) As soon as practicable after the closure of the poll, the presiding officer of each polling station shall, in the presence of the polling observers, make up into separate packets, sealed with his own seal and the seals of such polling observers as desire to affix their seals—

(a) each ballot box used at that station, each such box remaining locked as it was at the time of the open-tag of the poll and being sealed after the closure of the poll so as to prevent the introduction of any ballot papers thereafter;

(b) the key of each ballot box;

(c) the unused and spoilt ballot papers, placed together;

(d) the marked copies of the register of electors and the counterfoils of the ballot papers;

(e) the list of voters to whom ballot papers are not delivered under section 21; and

(f) the tendered votes list, and shall deliver the packets to the counting officer.

(2) The packets shall be accompanied by a statement substantially in form I set out in the Third Schedule to this Act, (hereinafter referred to as "the ballot paper account”) made by the presiding officer, showing the number of ballot papers entrusted to him, and accounting for them under the heads of—

(a) ballot papers issued to voters, other than spoilt ballot papers;

(b) spoilt ballot papers; and

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