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.
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 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
In 2020, the Federal Chancellery and the cantons have produced a joint final report on the redesign and relaunch of e-voting trials. 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).
The Federal Council granted the cantons of Basel-Stadt, St Gallen and Thurgau basic licences for trials with online voting in federal votes in 2023-2025 and in the National Council elections on 22 October 2023 (see media release of 3 March 2023 and media release of 16 August 2023). The basic licences are valid for a limited section of the electorate (see Trials with e-voting).
At its meeting on 22 November 2023, the Federal Council also granted the canton of Graubünden a basic licence for trials with online voting in 2024-2026 (see media release of 22 November 2023). The basic licence is valid for conducting online voting with a limited part of the electorate (see Trials with e-voting).
The cantons are using Swiss Post's e-voting system with complete verifiability. The system and its operation have been further developed and examined in an independent examination commissioned by the Federal Chancellery. In the process and as part of the continuous improvement process, existing need for action is identified and set out in a joint catalogue of measures by the Confederation and the participating cantons in consultation with Swiss Post (see Catalogue of measures by the Confederation and cantons). The Federal Chancellery will monitor the implementation of measures as part of the future authorisation procedures.
Secure e-voting in Switzerland
The video of the Federal Chancellery explains how e-voting is made secure in Switzerland.