Ballot card from provincial elections
Voting is a bit more complicated than I thought. For one there are preferential votes (1, 2, 3) which are counted if no one gets over 50%. Then there are rumors that another Sarath is contesting under the duck symbol, which looks similar to Fonseka’s swan. Then, of course, there are more rumors of stuff like ID printing machines being stolen, but I don’t know what one would do about that. There is always some degree of fraud at elections, but it’s been SLFP (betel leaf) vs UNP (elephant) for years. In this year of leaf vs swan there may be a significant amount of error. I reproduce here in full a voting guide from the ‘Friday Forum’.
This note for purposes of voter education is compiled by the Friday Forum, a gathering of concerned citizens which includes many distinguished elder citizens. The Forum took the initiative of preparing this document because of the observation that many citizens, irrespective of the level of education, are not fully aware of the manner in which one has to cast the vote at presidential elections. This simple step by step guide, we hope, will promote effective participation in the election process.
First, check whether your name is in the voter registration list. By this time, you should have received your polling card in the mail. If you have not received it check whether your name is duly entered in the voter registration list. You can check the list with the registering officer of your electoral district.
NOTE THAT YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE THE POLLING CARD TO VOTE IF YOUR NAME IS IN THE REGISTRATION LIST. Make sure that you carry with you your NIC or any other recognized picture ID with you when you go to vote.
At the 2010 presidential election, each voter is entitled to vote for THREE candidates if he/she wishes to, as there are more than three candidates contesting the election. Note that the preferences should be cast for three different candidates and not for one candidate alone. It is important that the preferences are marked as 1, 2 and 3 in the box next to the names and symbols of your preferred candidates in the order of preference. If the number ‘1’ is not marked against any candidate that means your entire ballot is invalid, even if you have marked ‘2’ and ‘3’ for other candidates. However, a vote marked clearly in any other manner (e.g. ‘X’) will be counted if the counting officer is satisfied that the mark clearly indicates the intention of the voter. In such an instance the second and third preferences must be marked clearly (e.g. ‘X’ for first preference and then ‘2’ and ‘3’ ). Otherwise, the entire ballot paper will be rejected.
Marking the second and third preferences is very important if there is a second count. If no candidate gets more than 50% of of the votes cast, then there will be a second count. What happens in the second round of counting is that the preferences marked for the two highest scoring candidates ON THE BALLOT PAPERS OF OTHER CANDIDATES (now eliminated) are counted. The candidate who wins the highest number of votes in this manner will be declared the winner even if 50% of the vote is not obtained.
Note that your ballot paper could be rejected for various reasons. Therefore, make sure that it has the official mark; that you do not write your name or anything else on it that will make it possible to identify you; that you have clearly marked your preferences beginning with “ 1” next to your first preference.