A majority or 69% of voters support the necessity to provide the possibility to sign electronically during the collection of signatures to initiate a referendum on the laws suspended by the President, according to a voter survey on a collection of signatures to initiate a national referendum. The survey was conducted by the Central Election Commission (CEC) in cooperation with the research centre SKDS. Meanwhile, 16% of respondents do not support such an option, while 15% have no opinion on the matter.
A collection of signatures was held for the initiation of a national referendum on the laws suspended by the President “Amendments to the City Council and Municipality Council Election Law,” and “Amendment to the Law on Local Governments” from 16 January to 14 February at 399 places for collecting signatures in Latvia and abroad. 0.4% of voters participated in the collection of signatures that are approximately 4% of the number of signatories needed to initiate the referendum. Only on-site participation in this collection of signatures was possible, since the legislation in force does not provide for the possibility to sign electronically.
In describing the reasons why they had not participated in the collection of signatures, respondents most often replied that they did not know about this collection of signatures (35%). 23% of the respondents indicated that they did not know what these amendments were about, but 19% did not support the holding of the national referendum, because this issue is not important enough to spend public budget on it.
It was also mentioned that signing on-site is too complicated, because you have to spend time and money to get to a place for collecting signatures, and you don't know where to go to sign up. Some of the respondents said they did not support the political forces that proposed the repeal of the laws, and therefore did not participate.
The survey also clarified voters' views on whether voters abroad should be allowed to participate in collections of signatures, as the law currently provides for their participation only in the 30-day collection of signatures on the laws suspended by the President. At the same time, voters abroad can participate in a one-year process of collection of signatures supporting legislative initiatives, only if they have a technical opportunity to sign electronically on the Latvija.lv portal, but they cannot sign on-site.
The majority of those surveyed generally believed that voters abroad should also be able to take part in collections of signatures. 31.9% of respondents answered that it should be possible to sign in on-site at Latvian diplomatic and consular missions, 26.4% agreed that additional places for collection of signatures should be open at the request of a certain number of people, while another 19.5% of those surveyed thought it would be good to provide the possibility of signing abroad by sending a signature form by post.
Meanwhile, one fifth or 20.6% of respondents think that there is no need to organise the collection of signatures abroad.
As part of the survey, voters were also asked whether they would be ready to pay a fee for certifying their signature when signing up for amendments to laws or recalling of the Saeima. 73% of respondents said they wouldn't be willing to pay. 13.8% said they would be willing to pay up to one euro fee. 4.2% of those surveyed would be ready to pay up to two euro fee, but €3 and more would be ready to pay 3.2% of respondents.
The survey was conducted from 7 to 18 February 2020 throughout Latvia and involved 873 Latvian citizens aged 18 to 75.
The full results of the survey can be found in the section “Studies” of the CEC website.
CEC Information Department