Deadline nears for EU absentee ballot requests

The deadline for Latvian citizens abroad to apply for absentee ballots to vote in the referendum on whether to join the European Union is Aug. 22. The referendum is scheduled Sept. 20.

If the referendum is approved, Latvia would join the EU in May. But recent opinion polls in Latvia continue to show decreasing support for EU membership.

In the United States, where the greatest number of Latvian citizens abroad is found, absentee ballots may be requested from the Embassy of Latvia, 4325 17th Street N.W., Washington, DC 20011.

To apply for an absentee ballot, citizens must submit a request containing their name, address and personal code. The request must be accompanied by the person’s Latvian passport or registration issued by the Latvian Citizenship and Immigration Department.

Further information about the balloting process in the United States is available from the embassy’s Web site.

Latvian citizens in the United States wishing to vote in person may do so on Sept. 20 at either the embassy in Washington or at the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia to the United Nations, 333 E. 50th St., New York, N.Y.

During its annual congress in May, the American Latvian Association adopted a resolution supporting Latvia’s membership in the EU. Leaders of the Latvian National Association in Canada also have expressed their support for EU membership.

In Canada, absentee ballots may be requested from the Latvian Embassy, 280 Albert St., Suite 300, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G8.

Latvian citizens in the United Kingdom may request absentee ballots from the Latvian Embassy, 45 Nottingham Place, London W1U 5LY.

In Australia, absentee ballot requests should be sent to Honorary Consul I. Dimits, c/o Latvian Australian Credit Coop. Ltd., Level 8, 313 Little Collins St., Melbourne, Vic. 3000.

In all, 38 polling places have been established abroad in 29 countries.

General information on the referendum—including details on other polling places—is available from the Web site of the Latvian Central Elections Commission.

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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