Jump to content

Reorienting eVoting and ensuring stable trial operation

Studies have shown that electronic voting is one of the eGovernment services which is most in demand by the general public. The aim of the Confederation and the cantons is to promote the introduction of electronic voting. In Switzerland, electronic voting was introduced through pilot schemes from 2004 onwards. In over 300 trials, a total of 15 cantons made electronic voting possible for a number of their voters. However, eVoting is currently not possible in Switzerland.

With electronic voting, the Swiss culture and traditions of political rights are moving into the digital age. eVoting simplifies the voting procedure for elections and votes, and prevents invalid votes from being cast. It also improves the counting process.
Voters should be free to choose: they can cast their vote by letter, in person at the ballot box or, if their canton offers eVoting, electronically. The electronic channel is thus intended as an additional option which offers an accessible, mobile and traceable option for voting.

Secure e-voting in Switzerland

Federal structure of political rights in Switzerland

The Confederation regulates the exercise of political rights in federal matters. The cantons are responsible for the implementation of federal elections and are therefore the actual project managers for the introduction and implementation of eVoting. They decide whether, when and with which system electronic voting should be offered. The Confederation is responsible for the approval and authorisation of eVoting in federal elections. Only systems that meet the Confederation's stringent security requirements are authorised.

Implementation status of electronic voting

eVoting was offered in ten cantons until early 2019. At that time, the cantons had two eVoting systems to choose from: that of the canton of Geneva and that of 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 its individually verifiable system would no longer be available to the cantons. It is focusing on improvement measures for the new system.
 
As no eVoting system is currently permitted in Switzerland, trials with eVoting are not possible in Switzerland at the moment (situation since July 2019).

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 fully verifiable. The redesign of the trial phase focuses on the following four objectives:

  1. Further development of the systems
  2. Effective controls and monitoring
  3. Increasing transparency and trust
  4. Stronger connection with the scientific community

The Federal Council  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.

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.

Description of target state

The Confederation and the cantons develop a stable eVoting operation with fully verifiable systems. They establish a new process for risk management. The aim is to provide the cantons with optimum support when introducing eVoting.

Measures supported in the implementation plan

Measures End date
M1: Ensure support in meeting security requirements, implementing risk-minimising measures and certification. 31.12.2023
M2: Implement supporting measures to promote confidence in electronic voting. 31.12.2023
M3: Implement the legislative process: Review the legal basis of the Confederation with regard to effective certification and approval processes and security requirements. 31.12.2023
M4: Support cantonal projects to introduce eVoting. 31.12.2023

Further information

Further information can be found here

Organisation responsible for project

Swiss Federal Chancellery, Political Rights Section

Contact person: Mirjam Hostettler

Contact: mirjam.hostettler(at)bk.admin.ch,  +41 58 467 21 64