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A 26-inch ballot paper among reasons for hefty election bill: EC


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 9 October 2019 00:30



  • Longer ballot paper, bigger ballot boxes and additional personnel push election bill close to Rs. 5 billion
  • 2015 Presidential Poll with 19 candidates cost less than Rs. 3 billion
  • A record number of 35 candidates contesting this year

By Chandani Kirinde

A 26-inch ballot paper, bigger ballot boxes, hundreds of additional personnel on election duty and miscellaneous expenses such as water, telephone and electricity bills are factors that have pushed the cost of the 16 November presidential poll close to Rs. 5 billion, officials said yesterday.

The Election Commission, which had forecast expenditure to be around Rs. 4 million, had to make a new estimate after a record number of 35 candidates gave nominations to contest in the election. In 2015, only 19 candidates contested the election and the cost was less than Rs. 3 billion.

The EC said that the Government Printer has sent samples of the ballot paper for the presidential election and that bigger ballot boxes would be needed to enable people to conveniently cast their votes.

Finding counting centres to accommodate additional personnel is another task for the EC.

“There will be 70 polling agents in each counting centre as each candidate gets two each and there will be 175 counting officers at each centre. Due to this there are several new measures we have to put in place,” the EC said.

These include making new ballot boxes or buying plastic ones, examining the existing counting centres and finding alternative venues, deploying additional staff as well as extra miscellaneous expenses to cover the facilities for staff who are on duty.

 


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