E-Voting

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.

At the beginning of 2019, e-voting was offered in ten cantons, either to both Swiss living abroad and resident voters or restricted to voters living abroad. The cantons could choose between two systems: the system offered by the canton of Geneva and the system offered by Swiss Post.

Based on its decision of November 2018, the canton of Geneva announced in June 2019 that its system would no longer be available with immediate effect. Swiss Post announced on 5 July 2019 that their individually verifiable system would no longer be offered to the cantons. Swiss Post is developing a system with complete verifiability. Currently, no e-voting system is available in Switzerland. 


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:

  1. Further development of the systems
  2. Effective control and oversight
  3. Increasing transparency and trust
  4. Closer cooperation with the academic community
 

Final report by the Confederation and cantons

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.

Dialog with experts from the academic research community and the industrial sector

The Confederation and cantons worked closely with IT and cryptography experts as well as with political scientists in determining the new direction that the e-voting project should take. A list of the experts mandated by the Federal Chancellery and the cantons, the questionnaire used as a basis for eliciting their views at the start of the dialog along with the summaries of the results of the dialog can be found below. As well as representatives from the federal government and the cantons, representatives of e-voting system providers took part at the invitation of the cantons.


Consultation procedure 2021

At its meeting on 28 April 2021 the Federal Council decided to open the consultation procedure for the redesign of electronic voting trials. The Ordinance on Political Rights (PoRO) will undergo a partial revision and the Federal Chancellery Ordinance on Electronic Voting ("VEleS", OEV) will be completely revised. This is intended to create a new, stable basis for e-voting trials.

The consultation ended on 18 August 2021.

The official documents and the report on the results in German, French and Italian as well as the submissions can be obtained via the following Internet address: https://www.fedlex.admin.ch/de/consultation-procedures/ended/2021

An (unofficial) translation of the documents for the consultation in English are published here:

An (unofficial) translation of the report on the results in English is published here:


Media releases

20.04.2022

E-voting: Results of the first independent examination available

The e-voting system currently being developed by Swiss Post has been significantly improved. However, further developments, some of them substantial, are still required. This is shown in the first independent examination reports of the experts commissioned by the Federal Chancellery. The results of the examination will help determine the further development of the system.

10.12.2021

New legal basis for e-voting trials to be finalised by mid-2022

At its meeting on 10 December, the Federal Council took note of the results of the consultation procedure on the legislation governing online voting (e-voting). It decided that the two related ordinances should be finalised by mid-2022. The Federal Council intends to pursue some of the fundamental issues raised in the responses to the consultation in the longer term.

05.07.2021

Federal government launches examination of new e-voting system

With consultations already underway on new federal provisions that define extensive security requirements for e-voting systems and their operation, some cantons are planning new trials with the redesigned Swiss Post e-voting system. The Confederation is therefore launching an independent examination of this system and its operation. This will take several months and will serve as a basis for deciding whether the cantons can relaunch trials with this system.

28.04.2021

Redesign of e-voting trials: consultation procedure opened

At its meeting on 28 April 2021 the Federal Council decided to open the consul-tation procedure for the redesign of electronic voting trials. The Ordinance on Political Rights will undergo a partial revision and the Federal Chancellery Ordinance on Electronic Voting will be completely revised. This is intended to create a new, stable basis for e-voting trials.


Secure e-voting in Switzerland

The video of the Federal Chancellery explains how e-voting is made secure in Switzerland.

https://www.bk.admin.ch/content/bk/en/home/politische-rechte/e-voting.html