In the 14th Saeima elections, voters will be able to vote at any polling station in Latvia or abroad. On election day, 1 October, polling stations will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. In foreign countries, the working time of the stations is according to the time of the respective country.
Voters who will not be able to vote on election day will be able to deposit their vote three days before election day, but only in 66 polling stations in Latvia.
- on Monday, 26 September, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- on Thursday, 29 September, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
- on Friday, 30 September, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- A voter who has deposited his/her vote may change his/her mind and vote again on election day, 1 October. (In this case, the deposited vote will not be counted)
- Voting document: In the 14th Saeima elections you can vote with a passport or identity card (eID). Latvian-issued identity documents that have expired as of 1 March 2020 will be able to be used to prove a person's identity in person in Latvia until 30 April next year, according to amendments to the law adopted by the Saeima. This provision does not apply to documents that have become invalid for other reasons, such as damage to the document or changes to the information recorded on it.
- A stamp will not be put in the passport for participation in the elections, and the electronic online voter register will be used to ensure the “one voter – one vote” principle.
Voters will be able to apply for voting at the place where the voter is located, if any voter is unable to come to the polling station for health reasons. Caregivers of sick persons and voters in temporary places of detention can also apply to vote at their location. A trusted person may also complete and submit the application on behalf of the voter.
There are 5 constituencies in the Saeima elections, and the polling stations of each constituency will have different ballot papers (only for the respective constituency). According to the Law on the Election of the Saeima, the constituencies include the following municipalities:
The constituency of Riga – the State city of Riga and abroad.
The constituency of Vidzeme – the municipalities of Ādaži, Alūksne, Cēsis, Gulbene, Ķekava, Limbaži, Madona, Mārupe, Ogre, Olaine, Ropaži, Salaspils, Saulkrasti, Sigulda, Smiltene, Valka, and Valmiera, and the State city of Jūrmala; in the election of the Saeima which takes place in 2022 also Varakļāni Municipality (as defined in paragraph 12 of the Transitional Provisions of the Law on the Election of the Saeima).
The constituency of Latgale – the municipalities of Augšdaugava, Balvi, Krāslava, Līvāni, Ludza, Preiļi, and Rēzekne, the State city of Daugavpils and the State city of Rēzekne.
The constituency of Kurzeme – the municipalities of Dienvidkurzeme, Kuldīga, Saldus, Talsi, and Ventspils, the State city of Liepāja and the State city of Ventspils.
The constituency of Zemgale – the municipalities of Aizkraukle, Bauska, Dobele, Jelgava, Jēkabpils, and Tukums, the State city of Jelgava.
According to the Law on the Election of the Saeima, the number of members of the Saeima to be elected from each constituency is determined in proportion to the number of voters in the constituency, which is established four months before the election day according to the data of the Register of Natural Persons. In the 14th Saeima, the constituency of Riga will have 36 seats, the constituency of Vidzeme 26 seats, the constituencies of Latgale and Zemgale 13 seats each, and the constituency of Kurzeme 12 seats.
What is the voting procedure at the polling station?
- When going to vote, you must take your passport or identity card with you.
- Voters should go to whichever polling station is most convenient for the voter.
- When you arrive at the polling station, you must present your passport or identity card.
- The employee of the polling station commission will scan the number or QR code of the identity document and will make sure that in the electronic online voter register the voter has the right to vote and note that the voter has voted.
- The voter's name, surname and personal identity number will be written in the list of voters, where they will have to sign confirming the receipt of ballot papers.
- When receiving the ballot papers, you must make sure that the election envelope has the stamp of the respective polling station and whether a complete set of ballot papers containing the lists of candidates of the respective polling station has been issued.
- After that, you have to go to the polling booth or voting compartment where you have to make your choice alone.
- From all the ballot papers, one must be chosen – with the list of candidates for whom the voter would like to vote.
- The ballot paper can be left unamended or a “+” mark can be placed for those candidates the election of which the voter particularly supports, or the names and surnames of candidates whose election the voter does not support can be crossed out.
- This ballot paper must be placed in the ballot envelope, the envelope must be sealed and dropped into the ballot box.
- It is recommended to discard the other (remaining) ballot papers in the wastebasket. It is also allowed to take ballot papers with you, but then it is recommended to take the ballot paper of the list for which the voter voted from the freely available ballot papers, so that when the voter leaves the polling station, the voter has a full set of ballot papers and no one can find out how the voter voted.
Voting by registration envelope
If for some technical reason the electoral register online cannot be used, voters will be able to vote with a registration envelope:
- At the polling station, they must go to the registration desk and show their passport or identity card.
- A member of the polling station commission will enter the voter on a separate list of voters, on which the voter must sign to acknowledge receipt of the voting materials.
- The voter will be given another envelope together with the voting envelope and the stamps – a registration envelope with the voter's name and personal identification number written on it.
- The voter must go to a polling booth or voting compartment to vote.
- Once the choice has been made, the voter must place the anonymous envelope containing the vote in the registration envelope and seal the envelope.
- The registration envelope must be handed to the polling station worker at the ballot box, who will stamp it with the polling station stamp and drop it into the ballot box.
When the electoral register online is restored, the Electoral Commission will check whether the voter's vote has been registered in another polling station. If the voter has not voted in another polling station, the validity of the vote will be noted in the register and counted. If the voter has voted at another polling station in the meantime, the vote will be deleted and will not be counted.
In case of damage to a voting ballot
If the ballot is damaged, but has not been placed in the envelope and the envelope has not been sealed, the voter may ask for a new set of ballots to be issued.
In case of damage to a voting envelope
If the envelope is damaged before it is sealed, the voter is entitled to a new envelope. The damaged ballot envelope must be returned to the member of the polling station commission and the voters' list must be re-signed for the new ballot envelope.
If a voter is physically unable to sign the register of voters or make a mark on the ballot paper
In this case, a member of the voter's family or another person trusted by the voter shall, in the presence of the voter, make the marks on the ballot paper or sign the list of voters in accordance with the voter's instructions. For this, a note shall be made in the register. The voter’s trustee may not be a member of the polling station commission.
Voting ballots at the polling station exit
Voting ballots for all lists of candidates are available at the exit of the polling station. These are intended to allow the voter to take the ballot of the list for which he or she voted, if necessary, to make a complete set of ballot papers. This protects the voter's right to vote by secret ballot, and no one can find out how the voter voted if they do not wish to disclose it.
Can I put an empty ballot envelope in the ballot box?
Yes. If you vote in an election and put an empty, valid envelope in the ballot box, this raises the total number of people who voted and the barrier for calculating the 5% barrier required for lists to win seats in Saeima.
Can I vote against the list of candidates?
No. Even if all the candidates are crossed out on the ballot paper, the voter has still voted for the list of candidates. Voting against is not the purpose of the election. An election is not a poll, but an event where voters cast their ballot for a list of candidates and candidates they support for election to the Saeima.
Where to report election violations
If someone wants to influence your vote in an unlawful way, call the State Police on 110 or pass on the information you have to the State Security Service, telephone +371 67208964, e-mail email@example.com
The penalty provided for in the Criminal Law for intentionally obstructing the free exercise of the right to vote by the use of violence, fraud, threats, payoffs, or other unlawful means, is the deprivation of liberty for a period of up to three years or temporary deprivation of liberty, or probationary supervision, or community service, or fine.
Any violations of pre-election campaigning, including possible hidden pre-election campaigning, should be reported to the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling +371 80002070.
Unauthorised pre-election campaigning on election day and the day before the elections in urban areas (outside polling stations, campaign posters, leaflet distribution, etc.) and public order offences should be reported to the State Police by calling 110. The chairperson of the relevant polling station commission should also be informed about violations of pre-election campaigning at polling stations or 50 m from the polling station entrance.