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E-voting is the only means by which Swiss Abroad can exercise their political rights.

Since 1 July 1992, Swiss Abroad have been able to vote by post at the federal level. Unfortunately, the voting papers often reach them too late or in the wrong language. Consequently, the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad has been campaigning for e-voting for several years now.

In 2002, e-voting was introduced for the first time in the form of pilot projects. This test phase was increasingly extended over the following years so that by June 2019 it was possible to vote and take part in elections via e-voting in ten different cantons (AG, BE, BS, FR, GE, LU, NE, SG, TG and VD). Several different systems were in use. The Zurich Consortium Vote électronique system was discontinued in 2015 leaving the Geneva cantonal system and that used by Swiss Post. Analyses show that on average more than half of voters vote electronically from the outset if they have the possibility to do so.

Since the Geneva cantonal and Swiss Post systems were discontinued in 2019, there is unfortunately no possibility at present to vote or take part in elections by e-voting in any of the cantons. As announed on 21 December 2020, the Federal Council launches redesign of e-voting trials. The cantons are again to be permitted to undertake limited trials with online voting using fully verifiable systems. This is the declared aim of the Federal Council, which on 18 December issued a decision on the redesign of e-voting trials. More precise security requirements, increased transparency, closer cooperation with independent experts and effective auditing on behalf of the Confederation will all contribute to ensuring the security of e-voting. There will be a consultation procedure on amending the statutory bases in 2021.

For several years, the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad, SwissCommunity, has tried through different initiatives to introduce e-voting for Swiss citizens abroad. In 2018, it also filed a petition to this end.

A short summary of the different activities and initiatives of SwissCommunity in this regard can be found in the following factsheet.

E-voting factsheet