Adelaide, Sydney withdraw from mail ballot processing

If you live in Australia and want to vote by mail in Latvia’s Aug. 2 constitutional referendum, you will need to find a different country to which to send your application. Both honorary consulates in Adelaide and Sydney have withdrawn from the list of locations where passports and mail ballot requests can be sent, the Central Election Commission announced June 17 in Rīga.

Vote-by-mail applications are due July 11, but the date coincides with the 2008 All Latvia Song and Dance Festival, which runs July 5-12 in Rīga. Honorary consuls Valdis Tomanis in Adelaide and Aldis Birzulis in Sydney, along with other experienced election workers, will be in Latvia during the festival and so will not be able to handle mail ballot requests, commission spokeswoman Kristīne Bērziņa said in a press release.

Latvian citizens in Australia will still be able to vote in person on Aug. 2 at polling places in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. The referendum will ask whether Latvia’s constitution should be amended to allow citizens to initiate dismissal of the Saeima.

Election commission Chairman Arnis Cimdars is disappointed that the honorary consuls have declined to process mail ballot applications, Bērziņa said in the press release.

Applications for mail ballots are being accepted at 11 other locations, including the Latvian embassies in Berlin, Germany; Brussels, Belgium; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dublin, Ireland; London, United Kingdom; Minsk, Belarus; Oslo, Norway; Ottawa, Canada; Stockholm, Sweden, and Washington, D.C., in the United States, as well as at the honorary consulate in São Paulo, Brazil.

Latvian citizens in Australia may send requests for mail ballots to one of those locations, but will have to spend more for express mail service than if they could use the local consulates, the election commission said.

Further information on the referendum and the election process is available from the Central Election Commission’s Web site,

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

2 thoughts on “Adelaide, Sydney withdraw from mail ballot processing

  1. Latvia has no embassy in Australia. Latvia’s non-resident ambassador to Australia, Indulis Bērziņš, is based in London. In Australia, Latvia has honorary consuls in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

  2. Am I missing something here? According to the story, the consulates in Adelaide and Sidney will be closed, but isn’t there an embassy in Canberra? Also, the article says that people can still go to vote in person on Aug. 2 at polling places in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney… but again, what about the capital of Australia? Isn’t there an embassy there, and why isn’t it handling the mail ballots or open for citizens to vote?

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