In Switzerland, e-voting means voting online via the internet. E-voting is part of the strategic plan of Swiss E-Government, which entails close collaboration between the Confederation and the cantons. Since 2004, 15 cantons have offered internet voting to a limited part of their electorate in over 300 trials. The Confederation and cantons have followed the principle of ‘security before speed’. In Switzerland, e-voting is only permitted if strict requirements under federal law are met.
Despite a long trial phase, involving over 300 trials in 15 cantons, e-voting has not been available in Switzerland since July 2019.
Certain cantons are planning to resume trials with the Swiss Post system. With this in mind, the Federal Chancellery commissioned an independent examination of this particular system and its operation and has published initial findings. Work on relaunching trials with this system is underway but has not yet been concluded. The results of the independent examination will be among the factors that the Federal Council takes into account when deciding whether to issue a canton with a basic e-voting licence.
Redesign of trial phase
On 26 June 2019, the Federal Council commissioned the Federal Chancellery to work with the cantons to redesign the trial phase of e-voting. The aim is to establish stable trial operations using e-voting systems, which are completely verifiable. The redesign of the trial phase focuses on the following four objectives:
- Further development of the systems
- Effective control and oversight
- Increasing transparency and trust
- Closer cooperation with the academic community
The Federal Chancellery and the cantons have produced a joint final report on the redesign and relaunch of e-voting trials. The report, drawn up after extensive consultation with experts from the academic research community and industrial sector, contains a catalogue of measures for relaunching the trials in stages.
The Federal Council took note of the steering committee’s final report on 18 December 2020. It has tasked the Federal Chancellery with the gradual implementation of the new redesign measures and to present a draft consultation document containing the necessary amendments to the legal bases. Once these amendments have been made and the systems independently tested, e-voting trials can be relaunched.
In the first stage of the redesign, the legislation on e-voting has been revised. The partially revised Ordinance on Political Rights (PoRO) and the totally revised Federal Chancellery Ordinance on Electronic Voting (OEV) came into force on 1 July 2022 (see Federal legislation).
Secure e-voting in Switzerland
The video of the Federal Chancellery explains how e-voting is made secure in Switzerland.