Election process improvements in Latvia may cost more than EUR 4 million

Latvia’s Central Election Commission (CVK) has asked the government to provide financing of EUR 4 128 412 for priority activities in 2022.
According to the commission, this money is needed to organize next year’s Saeima elections, introduce electronic online voter register for the Saeima elections, increase wages and catering compensation for municipal election commission and election site workers, improve CEC’s IT capacity and perform activities to promote voters’ participation.
Creation of an electronic online voter register requires EUR 1 039 356.
Financing of EUR 568 787 is needed by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (PMLP) to adapt the electronic online voter register to be used in the upcoming Saeima elections.
Amendments to the Saeima Elections Law and Voter Register Law were previously approved by the Saeima in the second reading. Next week the Public Administration and Local Government Committee plans to review amendments in the third reading.
Online voter register was used for the first time to keep track of voters during this year’s municipal elections. Using this option at the Saeima election would make the voting process easier for people who have a personal ID only.
Having an online voter register would make it easier for voters living abroad to sign up for participation in elections.
To provide local election sites with people of appropriate qualifications, CVK proposes
increasing hourly rates for members of municipal election commission and election site commissions and increase catering compensation on Election Day and vote counting days.
The proposal provides for increasing wages for election committee members. This particular priority will require EUR 1 909 875 from the 2022 state budget. The proposal suggests setting hourly rates on the following levels: from EUR 7.78 to EUR 11.97 for the chairmen of committees, from EUR 7.00 to EUR 10.10 for the secretary, and from EUR 6.00 to EUR 7.78 for committee members.
As for catering service compensations on Election Day and vote-counting day, it is proposed to increase them from EUR 5.69 to EUR 8.00.
According to CVK’s priorities, EUR 349 854 is needed to finance the maintenance of the election management system for the upcoming Saeima elections.
This IT system helps prepare voter lists and ballots, as well as monitor voting activity at election sites, and compilation and publication of election results.
Additional financing is also needed to maintain IT systems and to perform a security audit. This requires EUR 241 557 for the creation of necessary IT infrastructure and EUR 224 296 for maintenance.
EUR 202 000 is needed to finance activities to keep voters inform and promote their participation in elections.
EUR 161 474 is needed to finance production and distribution of election materials for the upcoming Saeima elections – ballots, envelopes, security seals – since the costs behind these materials have increased considerably since 2018.
The next Saeima elections in Latvia are scheduled for 1 October 2022.