Letters to the editor
E-voting gets a second chance
The city of Zurich dispatches my voting papers in good time. But, a) I don’t receive them at all, b) I receive them too late to return them on time, or c) I don’t receive them at all until after the actual vote. Sending the voting papers back via the embassies seems like a good idea until e-voting is reintroduced, although the embassy in Thailand will have its work cut out, given the thousands of Swiss who live here.
It is extremely regrettable that no suitable electronic voting system has been found. Essentially, I am being deprived of my political voice and rights. I cannot believe that financial or technical problems are the issue. Instead, the powers that be simply lack the urgency and drive needed to get the job done.
It is very important for our democracy to be able to vote easily. The Genevan system that I used each time I voted was far more reliable than voting by postal ballot, where we have no proof that our envelope has arrived safety and hasn’t just been mislaid somewhere! It’s true that democracy has a price. But we have to decide if, on cost grounds, we want to reduce the reach of Swiss citizens’ democracy.
Thank you very much for this enlightening article. Obviously, the federal government should help to fund e-voting. After all, it is mainly national issues on which we expatriates are able to vote. A secure e-voting system should be possible in this day and age – at least one that is as secure as ballot-box voting, which also has loopholes. We should not be so naive as to believe that in-person voting is completely watertight either.
E-voting is an absolute necessity for Swiss expatriates. It is the only way to be sure that our votes have actually been entered in the system. I have used it for several years and had zero issues. It gives me immediate confirmation that my vote has been recorded – which is what matters more than creating a paper trail.
Any e-voting system needs to be under centralised government control. As far as costs are concerned, expatriates being able to exercise their voting rights should actually be worth the government’s while. In the meantime, returning our postal votes via the embassies is a good idea.
Using diplomatic bags to send voting papers would be a realistic improvement. It would be of great service to many of us who live outside Europe. Even before the pandemic, voting papers would arrive here a week before the vote at best. Since the pandemic began, they have been arriving two to three weeks after the vote on a regular basis.
Peter Schneider on Covid-19
What an insightful and honest comment from a Swiss colleague. Living in New Zealand, we have been successful in eliminating the virus from our population, but it has come despite the clamour of some nay-sayers who took up the views of many Swiss and their leaders. The authorities held their nerve and followed scientific advice. Viruses need to be treated as infectious agents that do not make exceptions for commerce or personal preferences. As Dr Schneider said, you cannot have a healthy workforce if they play second fiddle to business interests.
As someone who believed Switzerland to be beyond reproach, I was surprised to read this article. But these days anything is possible, unfortunately. But after all, we all make mistakes; the important thing is to admit them and do better next time round.
Thank you for this article. This man is a very clear thinker. It is not my place to judge the choices of each country in their handling of this virus; the life of each person must remain paramount.
About “Swiss Review” in general
I thought the April edition of “Swiss Review” was excellent. All the articles covered pertinent issues and were polemical, frank and compelling. Based on this material, it is good to see that you have no need or desire to pull punches any longer.