Weapons assigned to Police officers on duty not to brush teeth
- Allegations that ballot boxes could be replaced is a myth
By Yohan Perera
Election Commission’s Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said yesterday the police officers on duty had been assigned weapons to be used if necessary, but not to brush teeth.
“We would like to remind the police officers on duty that they are not given weapons to brush their teeth but to use them if the need arises,” he said.
He said a number of steps have been taken to assure the safety of ballot boxes till the counting of votes begins on August 6.
Mr. Deshapriya told a press conference that allegations that ballot boxes could be replaced with ease this year as the counting starts on the following day is a myth.
In saying so, Mr. Deshapriya demonstrated the special precautions taken to guarantee the safety of ballot boxes till they are counted.
“Party polling agents at polling stations will be allowed to witness the sealing of boxes before they are sent to counting centres. Seals that would be given to all polling agents will have to be pasted on each box. The boxes will be padlocked while a document that will be signed by polling agents will also be pasted. Then the box will be put into a polythene bag that would be sealed with a plastic panel which will have a code number. Polling agents will be allowed to witness the acceptance of ballot boxes in counting centres. Once the ballot boxes are brought in to the counting centre they will be put into a bigger box. Around three ballot boxes would go into one big box. Polling agents will be made to paste their seals on the boxes as well,” the polls chief said.
“Agents representing parties, officers of election commission and police will be allowed to spend the night at counting centres to assure the safety of boxes,” he added.
“In such circumstances, no one will be able to shift the boxes,” he also said.
At the same time, Mr. Deshapriya said ballot boxes were last found in unauthorised locations during the district council elections in 1981.
- Agents representing parties, officers of election commission and police will be allowed to spend the night at counting centres to assure the safety of boxes