- Notes from the Federal Palace
E-voting – reorientation process currently ongoing
Since mid-2019, Swiss voters have no longer been able to vote electronically. Swiss Abroad have been particularly affected by the suspension of e-voting. However, work to reorient the e-voting testing process is currently ongoing. Security and transparency are the watchwords in this regard.
Federal legislation is now being revised in relation to e-voting, after the Federal Council conducted a consultation. The resumption of testing will be subject to new standards along with the implementation of measures to improve security.
Academic experts have been involved in the reorientation as part of a broad dialogue. In future, members of the public will be encouraged to report cracks in the country’s e-voting systems on an ongoing basis, using publicly accessible information for this purpose (source code; documentation; test reports; details of identified vulnerabilities). Anyone who provides a useful tip-off may receive a cash reward in return. The federal government will commission independent experts to check whether security standards are being maintained. The aim is to facilitate continual improvements. There will be additional collaboration with experts to help cement this process.
Furthermore, only fully verifiable e-voting systems will be used in future. Up to 30 per cent of voters per canton and up to 10 per cent of the nationwide electorate will be allowed to participate in e-voting pilots. Swiss Abroad as well as voters with physical or mental impairments will be given preferential treatment, in other words they will be able to take part without being included in these quotas.
The Confederation, cantons and the system provider Swiss Post are already implementing the new standards with a view to resuming the testing process as soon as possible. The revision of federal legislation will have no effect on the distribution of powers, so the cantons will still be free to decide whether to offer e-voting as well as which e-voting system they want to use, while the federal government will set the statutory parameters and act as the authorising body. (BK)
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