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Electronic voting for the diaspora

28.09.2016 – MARKO LEHTINEN

In addition to the festivities on the Bundesplatz, the Council of the Swiss Abroad also held a meeting on 5 August. In honour of the centenary, this took place in the splendid National Council chamber of the Federal Palace. Eighty-one council members with voting rights chose Christian Zeugin to succeed the outgoing chairman of the “Swiss Review” commission, Richard Bauer. National Councillor Laurent Wehrli was also elected to replace Christa Markwalder, who is stepping down as the domestic member of the Council of the Swiss Abroad. The Council also recognised the Confederation of Oregon Swiss Inc. in the USA as a Swiss association.

Following a brief discussion, the CSA approved a resolution on PostFinance AG, which had cancelled without warning the credit cards of customers living abroad. The resolution called on the OSA Executive Board to urge the Federal Council, and especially Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, to intervene in order to convince PostFinance to reverse this move as soon as possible.

Not surprisingly, given that the Council of the Swiss Abroad is due for re-election next year, proposed amendments to the voting procedures for delegates triggered a lively debate. In the end, the OSA Board recommended that all Swiss Abroad who are on the electoral roll be allowed to vote. The delegates approved this recommendation by a large margin.

The assembled Swiss Abroad also reached a broad consensus following a short podium discussion on electronic voting held within the framework of the meeting in the chamber of the National Council. Although electronic voting has long been permitted in Geneva, for example, it is still not possible in more than 20 cantons, thus also affecting the Swiss Abroad from those cantons. Appealing to the cantons, podium member and OSA Co-Director Ariane Rustichelli said the OSA had been “shocked”, therefore, that nine cantons had scrapped e-voting shortly before the 2015 elections. She said every single canton had a duty to ensure that all the Swiss Abroad could benefit from e-voting. The result of the vote was greeted with widespread applause.