Over 1 million registered voters can’t vote because they work abroad

Ishara S. Kodikara | AFP | Getty Images Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, center, speaks to supporters at the prime minister's official residence in Colombo on December 16, 2018, after he was reappointed as prime minister by Sri Lanka's president, the same man who fired him from the job nearly two months ago.

Over one and a half million registered voters of Sri Lanka can’t vote at Sri Lankan elections because they are working abroad. Over one and a half million registered voters of Sri Lanka can’t vote at Sri Lankan elections because they are working abroad. Nearly 12 percent of Sri Lanka’s registered voter base of 13 million people can’t vote at local elections, because the election laws make no provisions for people working abroad to vote.

“There should be some alternative provision to allow people working abroad to vote. Maybe through Sri Lankan embassies in those countries,” says G.D. Soysa the director, of the Migrant Services Centre, a local NGO.

The system of postal voting does not apply to people living outside the country and there is no mechanism to allow registered Sri Lankan voters to vote through Sri Lankan embassies in other countries.

“They remain shut out of our Democratic system of Government. In an all inclusive democracy denial of voting facilities is a violation of fundamental rights of any citizen,” says the Migrant Services Centre.

Migrant workers are a large chunk of both the working po