Riga elections will go ahead despite COVID-19 issues

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The Central Election Commission (CVK) said July 14 that, in the event of a spread of COVID-19, up to half the polling stations used for the upcoming Rīga municipal elections could be closed. Additional costs to secure elections in the COVID-19 circumstances amount to EUR 440 000. Despite this, the elections will still take place, Latvian Radio reported.

The emergency elections of Riga City Council will take place on 29 August of this year. In the event of illness spreading, election commissions may be allowed to close to half the polling stations. This would be the worst case scenario, said the Central Election Commission.

A lot of work is being done to organize elections in line with limiting COVID-19. The necessary amount of protective equipment has already been calculated and price studies have been carried out. It is also estimated that additional expenses will be at around €440 000.

The head of the Central Election Commission, Kristīne Bērziņa, explained that if a commission employee infected with COVID-19 is identified during the elections, the station is likely to be closed and voters will be directed to other stations.

Bērziņa is convinced that, in the worst case scenario, elections could also be held if it came down to half the number of stations.

Although this time it will be possible to vote in any station, the public is called to vote in their own station to reduce queues and crowds. 

In February this year, the Latvian Saeima voted to dismiss the Riga City Council. The extraordinary elections were originally planned for April but following the state of emergency the date was changed several times until it was set to August 29.

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