The electronic online voter register used in municipal elections this year won the information and communication technology industry award Platinum Mouse in the category State Digital Transformation under the Services. This award of the Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association (LIKTA) is aimed at the most successful digital solutions of each year, which are useful for society, business, management and education.
The electronic online voter register was developed by the Office for Citizenship and Migration Affairs (PMLP) together with the Central Election Commission (CEC).It was used for the first time in polling stations during the municipal elections of 5 June 2021 and the elections of 11 September to Varakļāni Municipality Council and Rēzekne Municipality Council. The online register enabled voters to vote at any polling station of their electoral district, ensuring at the same time that each voter has only one vote. An electronic list of voters of certain electoral district was available on-line at each polling station. When a voter arrived at the station, an election commission employee scanned the passport or eID barcode or QR code with a smartphone, verified the right of the person to vote in the relevant municipality, and noted in the online voter register that the voter participated in the election.
"The work done is important both for voters and election organizers, so we are pleased that it is also recognized among the professionals of the LIKTA. The introduction of electronic voter lists contributed to public satisfaction with the services provided by public administration and confidence in the use of digital solutions in elections. It also made it easier for election officers to work, saving not only time but also financial resources. The use of the online voter register allowed to omit printing and delivery of previously prepared voter lists in paper form, as well as the sending of information to each voter on his/her polling station,” – says Uldis Apsītis, Deputy Head of the PMLP.
“The solution has succeeded in extending and providing more convenient voting opportunities for voters, by allowing them to vote at any polling station in their electoral district, using either a passport or an identity card as a voting document. In the past, voters had to vote at a particular polling station in the municipal elections. The voters were informed in advance of the polling station, or they had to find out which station’s voter list they were included in. If the voter wanted to vote at another polling station, the change had to be applied for in time, which was not possible for all voters, so there was a voters’ demand for the possibility of voting at any polling station. The online voter register also benefits election organizers because it enables them to follow up workload of polling stations in real time and monitor polling stations' work, as well it provides additional advantages in holding elections in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic – if a polling station has to be closed during the elections due to epidemiological conditions, voters would not be left unvoted but could go to vote to any other polling station,” says Kristīne Bērziņa, Chairperson of the Central Election Commission.
The digitisation of the electoral process continues, and the successful experience of municipal elections has confirmed that the electronic online voter register can also be introduced and used in the Saeima elections. In the elections of the Saeima, the electronic voter register will allow voters, which hold only a personal identity card but not a valid passport, to participate in the elections without additional administrative burden – the receiving of a voter card, because participation in elections will be marked electronically rather than by a stamp on the passport or voter card. At the same time, the use of the voter register in the Saeima elections will make it easier for voters abroad to apply for postal voting, because in this case they will no longer need to produce a passport for stamping, but it will be necessary only to complete and submit an application to the election commission.
A technical solution for the electronic online voter register was developed and provided by the information technology company SOAAR.
The award “Platinum Mouse” has been assigned since 2007 with the aim of highlighting the most successful digital solutions created in Latvia, which are useful for society, business, management and education, evaluating and rewarding the most outstanding promoters of digital skills and competence in Latvia and the strongest projects, thereby promoting the success of the solutions created in Latvia and raising awareness of the importance of digital development for the growth of society and the economy of Latvia.
LIKTA is a non-governmental professional organisation founded in 1998 that covers the whole of Latvia's ICT sector - the field of information technology and software, telecommunications and services. LIKTA aims to promote the development of the information society, the development of ICT education and the growth of the sector in Latvia. LIKTA brings together industry organisations and businesses, as well as individual members and other associations.
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