On 13 February 2020 the Saeima adopted the Law on Dissolution of the Riga City Council, which entered into force on 25 February after promulgation by the President of Latvia. On 16 April this year the Saeima adopted amendments to the Law on Dissolution of the Riga City Council, postponing the elections to 29 August, taking into account a state of emergency and the security measures introduced to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Riga City Council elections took place on 29 August 2020. The Central Election Commission announced these elections on 7 July.
Polling station opening hours
Polling stations were open from 7.00 to 22.00 on the day of elections, 29 August.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before Election Day were the Early voting days. Polling stations were open these days:
- on Wednesday, 26 August, from 16.00 to 21.00;
- on Thursday, 27 August, from 9.00 to 16.00;
- on Friday, 28 August, from 12.00 to 20.00.
The voting document in the Riga City Council elections was a valid passport or identity card (eID).
The right to vote
The right to participate in the Riga City Council elections had citizens of Latvia and other member states of the European Union (EU), who have reached the age of 18 and
- who had registered place of residence in the administrative territory of Riga 90 days before the Election Day (as on 31 May 2020), or
- who owned real estate in the administrative territory of Riga and registered for voting until 15 August.
! All voters had to be registered in the Voters’ Register.
Where to vote
In the Riga City Council elections voters could vote at their assigned or any other polling station. Initially each voter was registered for voting at a polling station corresponding to the voter's declared place of residence in Riga on 31 May this year (90 days before the Election Day).
Voters were able to get to know about their polling station in a letter from the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs received by mail or using the e-service “Ascertainment of polling station”. Voters could also receive information on their polling station by calling the CEC hotline 67049999.
If a voter voted at a polling station, in the voters’ list of which he or she was not registered, the polling station commission performed electronic exchange of the data included in the voters’ list with the polling station, in the voters’ list of which the voter was registered, in accordance with the procedures specified by the Central Election Commission. If confirmation was given that the voter had not voted yet, the voter was included in the voters’ list of the respective polling station.
Voting was refused to the voter and the voter was not included in the voters’ list of another polling station, if in the electronic data exchange the polling station commission received information that the voter had already voted.
Change of a polling station before elections and registration for voting, if a person had real estate in Riga, took place from 30 July to 15 August.
If a voter could not get to the polling stations for health reasons
Voters, who were not be able to attend the polling station due to health reasons, up to 29 August were allowed to apply for voting at their place of residence. Voters who were in self-isolation or quarantine in connection with Covid-19 could also vote at their place of residence.
An application for voting at the place of residence had to be submitted to the Riga City Election Commission:
- by post to the address: Riga Congress Centre, 5 K. Valdemara Street, Riga, LV- 1050;
- to the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org;
- electronically on the Latvian State portal www.latvija.lv using the e-service “Application to an Authority”.
Application for a position in the polling station commission
The registration of candidates for the members of the Riga’s polling station commissions for the Riga City Council extraordinary elections took place from 29 June to 24 July.
Voters who spoke Latvian and had at least general secondary education could apply for jobs at the polling station. Candidates, authorised submitters of candidate lists, as well as members of the Saeima and the European Parliament, could not be elected in the polling station commissions.
The right to nominate representatives to the polling station commission had:
- parties, associations of parties;
- a group of voters of not less than 10 voters;
- Members of the Riga City Election Commission.
Each party, association of parties, voter group or member of the municipal election commission was allowed to nominate a maximum of seven candidates at each polling station.
Submission of candidate lists
Candidate lists for the extraordinary elections to the Riga City Council were submitted from 14 to 20 July.
The candidate lists for the elections to the Riga City Council could be submitted by registered political parties, registered associations of registered political parties, two or more registered political parties that have not formed a registered association of political parties. The lists of candidates had to be submitted to the Riga City Election Commission.
In order to reduce the risks of the spread of the virus infection Covid-19 in the Riga City Council elections on 29 August, the CEC approved the Recommendations on the Covid-19 infection prevention at the polling stations in the Riga City Council elections. When staying at a polling station, voters had to keep a two-meter distance, disinfect their hands, cover their mouth and nose. Voters who did not have their face covered were given a disposable face protective mask at the polling station. Voters were invited to use their own writing tools at the polling station, but if the voter did not have such capabilities, the polling station provided each voter with a pen.