Survey seeks input from U.S. Latvians on next Saeima election

To help prepare for the next Saeima election in 2010, the Latvian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the American Latvian Association have organized a survey of Latvian citizens in the United States.

Results of the survey, according to the embassy and the ALA, will be used to help determine the number and location of polling stations in the United States. Polling stations are set up by Latvia’s Central Election Commission on the advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The number of Latvians citizens voting in the United States has decreased with each parliamentary election. During the last election in 2006, a total of 1,479 citizens in United States cast ballots. Four years earlier, in the 2002 election, a total of 1,698 ballots were cast, while the 1998 election saw 2,928 votes.

During the 2006 election, polling stations in the United States were set up in Boston; Chicago; Cleveland, Ohio; Los Angeles; Minneapolis, Minn.; New York; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Seattle, Wash., and Washington, D.C.

Other countries with large exile generation populations also have seen declines in voting. However, in countries such as Ireland and the United Kingdom, where a surge in new immigrants from Latvia has been recorded, the number of voters has jumped.

The 11-question, three-page Latvian-language survey asks about potential voters’ motivation to cast ballots in the next election as well as the best way to publicize information about the election. Survey results also will be used to understand what changes might be necessary in the election process.

Completed surveys should be returned by Oct. 31 to the embassy by e-mail to, by fax to +1 (202) 328-2860, or by postal mail to Embassy of Latvia, 2306 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20008.

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

3 thoughts on “Survey seeks input from U.S. Latvians on next Saeima election

  1. How is this survey made available to Latvians living in the USA? I checked the websites of the ALA and the Latvian Embassy in Washington and did not find any links there.

  2. To incease the number of voters, voting stations have to be set up in every place where there are Latvian communities abroard – USA, Canada, Australia, South America, Europe – England, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, etc… There are more than 9 Latvian communities in USA alone, perhaps more than 40! It does not matter how many Latvians there are in a community – the voting stations can be set up very easy locally where an authorized person by the Emabassy of Latvia in USA oversees the voting process and reports to the election committee accordingly. Thus expenses would be none! The work force will consist of voluntiers. And there would be no expense for the Latvian Emabassy in USA. We have an precident already from the previous eletion in 2006. It is inportant that the whole voting process is made easier in general and specifically by increasing the number of voting stations. It is the duty of our Latvian communities abroad to inform the people regularly and ask them not to forget to vote – – on October 2, 2010. Whar we as individuals can do is this: urge our friends, relatives, etc. abroad and in Latvia to take an active part in the political process, the parliamentary election, by voting on October 2, 2010. This can be done by mail, e-mail, telephone calls, personal contacts, etc.

  3. It looks like this survey, by the Latvian Embassy, is to determine voting habits of Latvian Americans to determine where denser populations cluster and thus locate voting places for regional balloting so (balsošanas iecirkņi) can be set up, so people would not have to send passports to vote by mail.

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