Public sector employees sick of elections?
By Gagani Weerakoon
Mar 17, 2010
The Elections Secretariat had received 477,110 applications for postal voting for the upcoming General Election out of which 61,678 applications were rejected either because those were not filled accurately or have not met the required criteria. But that was not because those public sector employees were not literate or not educated enough to comprehend the application form. On the contrary, it has been found that it was done intentionally to avoid election duties.

However, a senior official of the civil service said, “Public sector employees will not lose their voting rights just because their postal vote application is rejected. They can always cast their vote on the election day,” a senior official of the civil service said. It was a common acceptance that one could predict which side was going to win at an election by following the postal vote results. This carries the idea that public sector employees depict the majority viewpoint of the country.

Even though it was reported that there is an increase of approximately 14,000 voters suitable to apply for postal votes as compared to the presidential election held in January this year, 61,678 applications being rejected should not be taken lightly.

It is also said that the Elections Secretariat is planning to deploy 300,000 public sector employees for election duty, 50,000 more than the number utilised for poll duties during the presidential election.

Even in the last presidential election a total of 401,119 qualified postal ballots were distributed and 57,036 applications were rejected.

“We used to love election duties those days and considered engaging in election duties is a privilege. But with these elections being held every other month I think most of the employees are sick of duties. There are instances where they come to us asking how not to cast their postal vote. That is not because they do not like voting, but engaging in election duties,” was what most of the department heads told The Bottom Line when asked for their opinion on postal voting applications being rejected in large numbers.

Courtesy: Bottom Line