Citizens abroad request nearly 900 absentee ballots for Oct. 2 election

A total of 890 Latvian citizens abroad have requested absentee ballots to vote in the Oct. 2 Saeima election, according to figures compiled by the Central Election Commission in Rīga. The number represents a nearly 60 percent increase over absentee ballot requests four years ago.

Citizens in the United States led the way, filing 313 requests with the Latvian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Potential voters in Germany submitted 212 requests with the embassy in Berlin, while citizens in Canada filed 109 requests with the embassy in Ottawa.

Citizens abroad had until Sept. 10 to submit the requests for mail ballots. They will receive ballots in time to return them to their local polling stations by the end of voting on Oct. 2, according to election commission officials.

Of the 24 embassies and honorary consulates through which absentee ballot requests could be made, three reported receiving no applications: the honorary consulates in Adelaide and Perth in Australia, as well as the embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel.

In Ireland, where tens of thousands of Latvian citizens now live, only three applications were reported to have been received by the embassy in Dublin.

The embassy in Oslo, Norway, received 74 requests. The embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, got 50 requests, while the embassy in London, England, had 45.

During the 2006 parliamentary election, 557 absentee ballots were requested by voters abroad. In all, 7,530 ballots were cast via mail or at polling stations abroad.

Latvian citizens abroad who do not vote by mail by Oct. 2 will be able to cast ballots on election day at one of 64 polling stations that will operate outside of the homeland.

One thought on “Citizens abroad request nearly 900 absentee ballots for Oct. 2 election

  1. The frustrating flip-side of this story is that if you are a resident of Latvia, you have no opportunity to cast an absentee vote! I will be in a remote corner of Spain on 2. October for an unavoidable work trip – and there is absolutely no way for me to cast a postal vote before I leave LV (I’ve rung the electoral commission a couple of times to double check). I can either vote in Madrid, or I don’t vote at all. Postal voting is only a privilege provided for those with an address outside LV. I wonder how many other Latvian citizens having to travel for work purposes will be affected by this?

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