Two weeks remain to apply for absentee ballots in Saeima election

Any Latvian citizen abroad who wants an absentee ballot to vote in the Oct. 2 parliamentary election has two weeks left to submit their application and passport to one of 24 embassies or consular offices around the world.

Application materials must be received by Sept. 10, whether in person or by mail, according to the Central Election Commission in Rīga. In case of mail submissions, passports will be mailed back to applicants.

The one-page application form, in Latvian, may download from the election commission’s website as either a Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF file.

Along with the application form, one’s Latvian passport must be submitted to the embassy or consular office. Once both are received, according to the election commission, the voter will be registered and the voter’s passport will be stamped to indicate particpation in the election. The voter also will receive a document certifying their registration.

Ballots, which include the candidate lists for all 13 political parties running in the election, will be sent to absentee voters between Sept. 10-17. Voters must pick just one list for which to vote, although they may promote or demote specific candidates on the list.

Voters abroad will cast ballots for candidates in the Rīga election district. The Rīga district is one of five election districts in Latvia, the other four being Kurzeme, Latgale, Vidzeme and Zemgale.

The completed absentee ballot must be returned to the local election commission that provided the ballot. Absentee ballots must be received by the local election commission by 8 p.m. Oct. 2 local time.

A total of 24 embassies and consular offices are accepting requests for absentee ballots. A list of addresses and hours is available from the Central Election Commission’s website,

Voters abroad also will be able to vote in person at one of 64 polling stations that will operate outside of Latvia on Oct. 2.

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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