Latvians upset by software error marring early voting in European elections

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RIGA, May 24 (Xinhua) -- A software error preventing polling stations in Latvia from sharing information has been marring early voting in the European Parliament elections this week, local media reported.

In all previous European elections in Latvia, voters could only cast their ballots at the polling stations in the area of their registered address of residence, but this time the national election authority had promised an opportunity to freely vote at any polling station across the country during the three days of early voting preceding the official election day, which is Saturday, May 25.

A special software was developed for this purpose to enable data exchange among the polling stations, but on Thursday, the second day of early voting, the system crashed, leaving many people upset as they were turned away from the polling stations that did not have their names on their respective electoral rolls.

The glitch triggered a wide public outcry, causing concerns about a possible impact on voter turnout and even the validity of the result of the polls. As a last-minute measure, the parliament rushed to pass a bill to extend the opening time of polling stations by four hours on Friday.

On Friday afternoon, however, Liva Laizane, representative of the Central Election Commission, announced that the digital services provider had managed to detect and correct the error in the online data exchange system. Around three hours before the polling stations closed, the opportunity to vote at any polling station in Latvia was restored.

Latvian Justice Minister Janis Bordans said on public radio on Friday that the situation with the error in the election authority's digital system was worrisome and that it was very bad that the "rules of the game had to be changed in the process of the game." Enditem

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