Overseas voters turned out in force

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Turnout in Latvia's October 4 parliamentary election may have hit a record low at 58.8% but overseas voters bucked the trend, a Foreign Ministry statement suggested Wednesday.

Latvian citizens abroad cast their votes at 98 polling stations in 41 countries across the globe. Compared to the 11th Saeima elections, 21 additional polling stations were opened in the United Arab Emirates, Chile, India, and Iceland, and in places with the highest populations of Latvian citizens, for instance, the UK, Germany, Ireland, and Sweden.  

A special interactive website, www.kurbalsotarzemes.lv, designed to help voters find their nearest polling station overseas recorded 16 thousand visitors, and the Foreign Ministry pledged Wednesday "it will be available for elections and referenda in the future." 

A total of 23,053 voters took part in the 12th Saeima elections abroad, which exceeds the turnout figures for the previous parliamentary elections by 8,843.

The highest turnout was recorded in the UK, where 7,218 Latvian citizens took part in voting; 2,236 people voted in the US, 1,685 in Germany, 1,521 in Ireland, and 1,431 in Norway.

As in the 11th Saeima elections, the highest voters' activity was observed at the polling station in London with 1,985 voters. There also was also a good turnout of voters in Stockholm – 976, in Dublin – 949, Oslo – 947, and Brussels – 820.

"Voting abroad ran smoothly, without incidents. Unfortunately,  some citizens came to polling stations with only their ID cards, and without a voter's card, and therefore could not take part," the Foreign Ministry said.

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