By Azra Ameen
The Election Secretariat has taken steps to issue temporary Identity Cards for those voters who do not possess valid identity cards for the upcoming Eastern, Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provincial Council elections, Election Commissioner, Mahinda Deshapriya said.
The Election Commissioner told Ceylon Today that applications for the temporary identity cards can be obtained by the Grama Niladari or from the Superintendants of estates.
“We decided that the temporary IDs will be issued until 20 August but we have plans to extend this deadline since the people of these areas will have difficulty submitting the applications on time,” he said.
He also said that voters who possess either one of these national identity cards, valid driving licenses, pension identity cards, senior citizens ID card or clergy identity card which are issued by the religious affairs ministry or temporary ID cards issued in the 2010 and 2011 elections will be eligible for the temporary identity cards.
He also said those whose identity cards are damaged or worn out will not be accepted and temporary ID cards issued in 2008 and in 2009 are not valid for this year's election.
Chief Executive for the Campaign For Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), Keerthi Tennakoon told Ceylon Today that by next week CaFFE will be starting clinics to issue temporary IDs to those in the Eastern province.
“We have done research from several angles and we learnt that most of the data is not accurate. We understand that in the East a large number of people do not have ID’s and it is imperative to provide them with temporary IDs so that they can cast their vote,” he said.
“The ID issue for those living in the east is not as bad as what it is in the north. But still it is an issue and it needs to be addressed and we will be conducting clinics to provide temporary IDs to those who do not have IDs in the east from next week. We will be starting from Ampara and will be moving to other parts of the east as well,” he said.