Early voting continues across Latvia in European elections

Take note – story published 4 years and 11 months ago

May 23 brought with it a second day of early voting in the European parliament elections, with polling stations open for the convenience of people unable to vote on the main voting day on Saturday.

Of 1.4 million eligible voters, a total of 36,000 or 2.5% of the electorate, took the chance to vote on May 22, according to data of the Central Election Commission (CVK). During the same period four years ago, only 1.5% voted, giving some tentative hope that turnout might be higher.

Voter activity was highest in Rīga and its surrounding area. Rīga saw voter activity of 4.31% while Ķekava did even better with 4.78% of voters turning out on day one.

By lunchtime on May 23, turnout had increased to 4.3% nationwide and more than 6% in Rīga.

Voters are reminded to take ID with them to polling stations. Citizens of Latvia and citizens of other European Union member states residing in Latvia and entered into the Register of Voters of Latvia have the right to elect the European Parliament. To participate in elections a voter on Election Day must be at least 18 years old.

The Law on Elections to the European Parliament provides for various options how voters can participate in elections to the European Parliament.

On Thursday, 23 May polling stations will be open from 9:00 till 12:00, on Friday, 24 May from 10:00 till 20:00 and on Election Day on 25 May from 7.00 to 20.00.

However, not everything has been running smoothly. The failure of an electronic system means voters cannot vote at any polling station they happen to be near (which was originally promised), but can only vote at the polling station in their registered place of residence, greatly reducing the convenience of the system.

Hearing of the confusion this was causing, Saeima moved with uncharacteristic dynamism and within hours had extended Friday's polling hours from 16:00 until 20:00.

‼️Diemžēl šorīt konstatēti traucējumi tiešsaistes datu apmaiņas sistēmā. Sistēma tiek labota. Iespējams, ka iespēja balsot citā iecirknī būs tikai rīt.
?Citas balsošanas iespējas ir:
- doties balsot uz savu iecirkni šodien, rīt,
- doties balsot uz savu iecirkni sestdien, 25.05. pic.twitter.com/mVrzg7UfDJ

Latvia's dedicated cyber security agency, CERT.lv, said there were no indications the system failures were caused by hacking or other forms of external interference.

"CERT.LV  is continuously monitoring the operation of election systems. Analysis of the available info indicates that the interruptions observed in the performance of the system are not related to external factors and can not be considered cybersecurity incidents," the agency said.

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