Dispatch of voting material by diplomatic courier: a temporary solution

At the next voting day in June, Swiss Abroad in Australia that are registered in the cantons of Aargau, Ticino and Geneva, will have their voting papers delivered to Australia via diplomatic courier.

 

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback about the late arrival of voting papers in Australia. Pilot projects like these are the result of Swiss Abroad providing feedback, CSA delegates and media raising awareness and understanding and support by Members of parliament.

The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) welcomes the announcement by the Federal Chancellery that it will test improvements in the delivery of voting material to the Swiss Abroad and at the same time, record when the voting material will arrive at its destination. Specifically, with a view to the referendum on June 13, 2021, half of the Swiss people who live in Australia, Brazil and Thailand and exercise their political rights in the cantons of Aargau, Geneva and Ticino will be sent the voting documents on a trial basis via the Swiss representations. The other half should receive the documents by post, as has been the case up to now.

The OSA, which represents the interests of the 776,300 Swiss living abroad, welcomes the intention of the federal government and the cantons of Aargau, Geneva and Ticino to improve the dispatch of voting material to the Swiss Abroad by way of the Swiss representations. From the point of view of the OSA, however, the delivery of voting documents can only be a temporary solution.

The test is a consequence of the acceptance of Andri Silberschmidt’s (FDP / ZH) postulate by the National Council on March 19, 2021. This asks the Federal Council to examine, as part of a temporary pilot project, how the delivery of voting material to the Swiss Abroad can be improved. This should give them the opportunity to exercise their political rights in good time. Today this is often not possible due to delayed mail delivery.

The OSA points out that even the more efficient dispatch of voting documents via the Swiss representations cannot replace the introduction of a secure, nationwide electronic voting system. The position of the OSA: e-voting remains the only possibility for all Swiss citizens to exercise their political rights correctly at any time. The OSA therefore supports the federal government’s new e-voting strategy.

As the 2020 statistics on the Swiss Abroad show, the growth in the number of Swiss people living abroad was lower than in previous years due to the global pandemic (+ 0.7% in 2020, compared to + 1.4% in 2019 and + 1.1% in 2018). On the other hand, the number of Swiss Abroad registered on the electoral roll increased significantly more than in previous years: from 185,093 to 207,375 in 2020, which corresponds to an increase of + 12%. These figures show that the Swiss diaspora is ready to participate more actively in the political debate in Switzerland.