Many Swiss in Oceania have expressed their frustration and disappointment on the late or non-arrival of their voting material sent by regular mail from Switzerland.
- Carmen Trochsler, Adelaide -
As previously reported, the E-voting many of us enjoyed, has been put on hold nation-wide due to security concerns. The Swiss Government is working with the cantons to establish a system that deserves the trust of the majority.
Until such a system is in place, many people remain deprived of the possibility of exercising their right to vote. This has been exacerbated in connection with the
COVID-19 crisis which is also affecting the postal services.
The delegates from Australia started a survey on various social media channels regarding arrival of election documents for the polls on September 27 in Switzerland. Delegate Katja Wallimann Gates evaluated the data and based on this, only 9% of all Swiss people who live in Australia and are registered for voting received their documents on time (meaning two weeks before the vote - which due to postal delays during COVID-19 is likely to be not enough). The frustration of the Swiss Abroad and Katja's evaluation was reported on in Swiss Newspapers such as Swissinfo or the Luzerner Zeitung.
Similar, at the second referendum on 29 November, there were again many Swiss citizens that did miss out on being able to have their say. In anticipation of this, Katja Wallimann Gates and Carmen Trochsler have put together a list of the authorities in each canton responsible for the mailing of the voting material. Swiss were encouraged to let their respective authority know of the late arrival - and many did. We think it is important that the authorities hear from those affected directly and that the demands for solutions are backed by facts and individual stories.
We are very pleased to see Swiss Abroad are heard and some actions happen at the Swiss Parliament level.
- National Councillor Andri Silberschmidt (FDP, ZH) haș submitted a postulate addressing these concerns recently. If approved the Federal Council will be instructed to examine and to report whether mailing of federal election and voting documents by Swiss nationals abroad can be simplified. He would like them to look specifically into the use of the diplomatic courier and extension of the dispatch times.
- Further to the above, National Councillor Damien Cottier (FDP, NE) showed support for the cause as well and has pointed out the difficulties experienced by the Swiss Abroad during question time in parliament and asked if dispatch times could be adjusted. The Federal council took note and said they will deal with the issue of dispatch times in the above mentioned postulate by Andri Silberschmidt.
Our New Zealand Delegate, Peter Ehrler, has personally contacted several Members of Parliament concerning the unacceptable voting situation. He asked them to support National Councillor Andri Silberschmidt's (FDP, ZH) postulate.
At the time of writing, the postulate of Andri Silberschmidt has not been dealt with in the National council.
We will keep you updated.