Commission closes Argentina polling station

Just three days before Latvia’s national referendum on amendments to two security laws, a second polling station abroad has been dropped, according to the Central Election Commission in Rīga. The polling station in Buenos Aires, Argentina, will not operate on July 7.

The Embassy of Latvia in Kazakhstan was dropped from the list on June 12.

The election commission’s decision to strike the Argentina location from the list of polling stations came after a request from the MInistry of Foreign Affairs. Mirdza Zalts, the honorary consul in Buenos Aires, told the Foreign Ministry she has developed health problems and will not be able to guarantee operation of the polling station, the commission said in a July 4 press release.

Because the Latvian community in Argentina is so small, no other polling station can be organized in time for the referendum. In last year’s parliamentary election, just 43 voters cast ballots in Argentina.

That leaves 46 locations outside of Latvia where voters may cast ballots on the referendum.

This is the first time a polling station has been dropped this close to a vote, Arnis Cimdars, chairperson of the election commission, said in the press release. The situation also points to the need to reconsider how polling stations are assigned outside of Latvia, he added. The election commission will present a proposal to the parliament this autumn.

Polling stations in Latvia and abroad will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time. To vote in the referendum, voters must be at least 18 years of age and must present a valid Latvian passport.

A complete list of polling stations abroad 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.

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