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Letters to the editor

20.11.2019

No e-voting option available for the 2019 elections

E-voting was a really good, convenient option for us Swiss Abroad – unlike postal voting. I didn’t even receive my voting papers at the last elections, which is a poor show. As a former politician at municipal level who now lives in Thailand as a Swiss expatriate, I still want to be able to exercise my right to vote. It is therefore imperative that my ballot papers arrive in time. But e-voting also needs to make a comeback. It is certainly more fraud-proof than postal voting, as I have experienced at first hand.

Armin Thürig, Maetang Chiangmai, Thailand

If the will had been there – and more pressure exerted – e-voting would already have been fully rolled out ages ago. Otherwise, you could make the same tired arguments about e-banking. If we can’t have e-voting for the Swiss Abroad, then at least they should make sure that the voting papers arrive in time instead of weeks later! We expats also have the right to vote at federal level.

Gigi Geiger, Thailand

Mass tourism in Switzerland

It is indeed essential not to give in to greed when it comes to mass tourism. The key thing is not the potential income but preserving the authenticity of tourist destinations.

Vincent Poder, France

We visit as often as we can now, and after retirement we plan to spend months each year in Switzerland. Luckily it is easy now to find Swiss food products in the USA, and the cheeses appear to be less expensive here than in Switzerland! That is always surprising to me.

Peter Vogel, Memphis, USA

Voting rights for Swiss Abroad under pressure

Why on earth should they question the right of the Swiss Abroad to vote? For me it would be like someone taking my Swiss passport away. It wasn’t until I was 70 that I was able to vote. That was when they introduced postal voting. Since then I have voted every time. I subscribe to the NZZ to keep up to date, and have come to realise that Switzerland and Germany share much the same problems. Hence, I use my own experiences to inform my voting decisions. I don’t need my “own” national councillor. The choice of parties is wide enough for everyone. And because I’m always trying to explain things about Switzerland, the printed version of “Swiss Review” is indispensable. Plenty of people here take an interest in what is happening. I also intend to continue voting by post – pushing the envelope into the letterbox is almost like going to the ballot box.

Elinor Kirsch, Limburg, Germany

Albert Bächtold, the “Klettgau Russian”

I honestly had tears in my eyes when I read your account about the Schaffhausen author Albert Bächtold. Memories of a bygone era came to mind. I was 16 and studying at commercial college in Zurich at the time. As I grew up in Schaffhausen, I used to take the train every day to Zurich and back with a girl I knew. One day in the train, we started talking to a gentleman who must have been aged around 50. He said he wrote books. We found this incredibly interesting, so we asked our German teacher to invite Mr Bächtold – that was his name – to do a book reading at our school. Mr Bächtold was more than happy to oblige, and, from then on, the two of us paid him frequent visits. We always had plenty of time after college before our train to Schaffhausen left at 6 p.m. “Let’s call at Mr Bächtold’s!” we would say. And off we went. I have fond memories of those visits. We would sit and listen intently as he reeled off stories about his interesting life. He was always delighted when we rang at his door – not just because the three of us all spoke in Schaffhausen dialect, but also because he was very lonely, I suspect.

Mascha M. Fisch, Mayen, Germany

“Swiss Review” in general

When I was 8 years old my parents left Switzerland due to the Great Depression. Once I reached adulthood I often returned to my home country to visit relatives, and bask in the beauty of Switzerland. I loved to eat cheese fondue, beef tartare and a wonderful loaf of Swiss bread. Now that I am 89 years old I cannot travel freely so I look forward to my copy of the “Swiss Review”. Thank you for helping me keep in touch with my home country.

Michel P. Barbezat, Chicago, USA

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