Govt moots automatic voter registration Immediate entry in voter registry at 18

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By 2017-11-23

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Provisions will be made to prepare a supplementary voter registry to ensure that those who attain the age of 18 are immediately included in the list of persons eligible to vote, Co-Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said yesterday (22).

The Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal by President Maithripala Sirisena, who submitted a Cabinet memorandum after the Elections Commission recommended that the creation of such a supplementary voter registry is vital to ensure that all those who are eligible to vote will be able to exercise their franchise.

Currently the Commission registers all those who are above the age of 18 by 1 June, each year. The Commission also amends the registry annually, a process which takes around six months.

"If there is an election after June but a person has his or her birthday after 1 June, that person will not be able to vote. In such an instance, a lot of young people lose the opportunity to vote," he said.

Thus the Commission has stated that it would be better if the Government initiates a programme to include the names of those who attain the age of 18 to the voter registry immediately. "Thus the President has requested the Cabinet to inform the Legal Draftsman's Department to amend the Registration of Electors Act, No. 44 of 1980 to ensure that those who attain the age of 18 are immediately included in the list of persons eligible to vote," he said.

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