Overseas voters can check nearest polling station online

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The Latvian Foreign Ministry and the Central Election Commission (CVK) unveiled a new tool Monday designed to help overseas voters find their nearest polling station for parliamentary elections on October 4th.  

At a press briefing, the website www.kurbalsotarzemes.lv was unveiled, allowing voters to enter the name of a city and automatically generate a map showing the nearest polling station.

In total there will be 99 overseas polling stations in addition to 953 within Latvia itself.

Several countries will get polling stations for the first time, including Chile and Iceland, while other countries such as the United Kingdom were adding more voting locations that previously.

The first polling stations to open will be in Australia with the last to close on the west coast of the US.

CVK chairman Arnis Cimdars urged voters to use the days before polling day to familiarize themselves with the voting procedure and party election lists to avoid confusion at the ballot box, and to make sure they have their identity documents in order.

He stressed that only a simple cross in the box on ballot papers would be acceptable to indicate a 'positive' vote for a particular candidate and that crossing out a name on the same paper was the only acceptable way of showing a candidate was not liked.

“I would like to warn those who write a minus or anything else on their ballot paper that all other symbols will not be counted,” Cimdars told journalists.

"We're doing the maximim to ensure everyone can participate in the democratic process," Foreign Ministry spokesman Karlis Eihenbaums said.

Latvia's ambassador to the UK, Andris Teikmanis said he hoped lines would not form at the embassy as they did during 2012's referendum on Russian as a second state language.

However, Cimdars was of a different opinion.

"I hope there are lines," he joked, "but lines that are moving quite quickly. That would be a good indicator that plenty of people wanted to participate."

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