Colombo: Voter turnout was moderate in elections to Sri Lanka`s three provincial councils, including the Tamil-majority Northern Province, where ballotting took place Saturday.
All arrangements were made by the election secretariat for free and fair elections in the Northern, North Western and Central provinces, the government`s news portal news.lk reported.
Voting began at 7 am and will continue till 4 pm. Over four million people were eligible to vote.
Voter turnout in Jaffna was around 30-35 percent at 10 am. However, election monitoring officials said there was lack of enthusiasm among voters, the Daily Mirror reported.
Among other places, Nuwar Eliya saw voter turnout of 30 percent, Matale 45 percent, Kandy 40 percent, Kurunegala 45 percent, Puttlam 35 percent, Kilinochchi 29 percent, Vavuniya 24 percent and Mannar 30 percent.
Voters will elect 56 members to the Central province, 50 members to the North Western province and 36 members to the Northern Province. A total of 3,743 polling stations were set up in 54 constituencies.
A total of 4,363,252 registered voters from the three provinces are eligible to cast their votes. They include 1,889,557 from the Central Province, 719,477 from the Northern Province, and 1,754,218 from the North Western Province.
Postal voting was held Sep 13 and 14. As many as 111,383 voters were eligible to vote by post.
There will be 476 counting centres in the three provinces.
The election department will begin counting at 6 p.m., and the first postal voting result will be announced at 10 p.m.
The election secretariat has taken steps to introduce new transparent ballot boxes instead of the traditional wooden boxes in select polling centres.
The ballot boxes have been imported from India and are being used as a pilot project.
BBC said the Tamil-majority Northern province, which was first promised such a body decades ago, is the only region which has never had its own council.
"We want a settlement for the Tamils. That`s why we came to vote this time. We`ve been waiting so many years - now we want peace," an elderly woman was quoted as saying.