Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)

EC ready to face any challenges in conducting polls

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While Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarach­chi on Friday night gazetted the Coronaviru­s Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (Elections) Regulation­s No 1 of 2020, it contained no reference to PHIs or their powers. It outlined guidelines for the conduct of election meetings, door-to-door campaigns, election offices and polling stations and premises.

The Election Commission, which had wanted PHI participat­ion in the poll, will now hold discussion­s with relevant authoritie­s--including the

Health Ministry--to fill the gap. “Either way, there must be representa­tives on polling day, be they nurses or doctors or others, to handle matters related to the pandemic,” the official said.

In the event of a lockdown in one or many areas, a separate polling location will be organised with high security measures including personal protective gear and sanitisati­on to ensure affected voters to participat­e in the election. There are also plans to apply heat by a special method to the ballot papers after they are handed in by such voters.

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