154,000 to use e-voting in 2017

Around 97,000 Swiss-based voters and 57,000 Swiss abroad will be able to use e-voting in the next nationwide vote on February 12, 2017. The government has approved five cantonal applications to trial e-voting for a further two years.

The move concerns the cantons of Bern, Lucerne, Basel City, Neuchâtel and Geneva, the government said in a statement (G) on 2 December 2016. It had already approved e-voting for canton Fribourg three months ago.


This brings the number of cantons testing e-voting to six out of a total of 26 cantons.

Swiss abroad who are citizens of the five above-mentioned cantons will be able to vote via a mouse click. In addition, up to 30% of voters in Neuchâtel and Geneva will be able to cast their ballots electronically in a nationwide vote. Disabled voters in canton Basel City will also be able to make use of e-voting.


St Gallen is expected to be the next canton to use online ballots. Last month the canton decided to go for the Geneva e-voting system, which is expected to be operational during next year.


E-voting systems


There are currently two main systems being tested. CHVote (F) developed in Geneva, has been used by cantons Basel City, Bern and Lucerne. 


The ‘Swiss Post e-voting’ system, developed by the Post Office with the Spanish company Scytl, has been used in Fribourg. It passed its first test on November 27, during the vote on when to phase out nuclear energy in Switzerland.  As reported by swissinfo.ch, the Fribourg authorities are now looking confidently towards developing the system further.


Scytl had previously developed the system of e-voting used in canton Neuchâtel (F), which has not been shared.


Checks and goals


The government will check whether the conditions for using e-voting are suitable before each vote and then issue permission, the government statement said.


Security concerns scuppered a previous attempt by nine cantons to introduce e-voting for the national elections in 2015. The consortium disbanded afterwards. It included the cantons of Graubünden, Glarus, St Gallen, Thurgau, Zurich, Schaffhausen, Aargau, Solothurn and Fribourg.


The government is paying ‘special attention’ to e-voting, it has said in a statement in October last year (G). Its goal is to have two thirds of cantons introducing e-voting across the board for all voters” by the end of 2019.