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Expert: no efforts to influence election system are expected for Latvia’s upcoming elections

Jānis Sārts/flickr.com.
Compared to attempts to hack the digital election systems in USA, France, Netherlands and Ukraine, no attempts to influence the system in Latvia are expected. This is largely because of the old-school approach to counting election results, says director of NATO Strategic Communication Excellence Center Jānis Sārts in an interview to Diena.

According to him, this particular condition is Latvia’s trump card. «I know that Norway has gone back to manual counting of votes. Still, it is important to consider risks and perform counter-measures,» said Sārts.

According to him, there are two main risks associated with election processes. One of them includes attempts to divide society using controversies. «In this case it is important to divide the normal pre-election rhetoric process used by politicians from external attempts to manipulate such processes. In other countries there are factors like migration, social inequality – once such topics find their way into debates, they receive promotion,» comments Sārts. «The other risk is when attempts to undermine trust in results succeed, degrading overall legitimacy by a large margin in the process.»

«This is my biggest concern. But I do hope it will not come to this. Latvia has the reach and resources to make sure vulnerable elements are protected from external influences,» added Sārts.

He adds that society has to understand that risks exist and that they should be the first to consider them. «The media and non-government organizations play important roles as well, because, as we all know, political parties have very little trust. This is why there has to be someone who can point out untrue facts and pinpoint the people telling lies or trying to influence results,» says Sārts.


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