Good news from Fribourg for Swiss abroad who want to cast their vote electronically: the new system developed by Swiss Post has passed its first test. The Fribourg authorities are now looking confidently towards developing the system further.
“Everything worked really well – both for the vote on the initiative and the second round of the cantonal elections,” cantonal chancellor Danielle Gagnaux-Morel told swissinfo.ch, expressing satisfaction at how it had all run just as planned.
A third (34%) of people from Fribourg living abroad took advantage of this means of voting in Sunday’s initiative on phasing out the country’s nuclear power stations and 41.8% of those who voted in the second round of cantonal elections.
For the moment, Fribourg only offers e-voting to those Swiss abroad who have registered with the canton’s electoral list.
“We’ll continue with it next year,” Gagnaux-Morel said. “What’s more, we’ll start talks with the municipalities to extend electronic voting to those Fribourg citizens resident in the canton. It is in fact the municipalities which are responsible for organising votes and elections in canton Fribourg.”
The new system’s advanced technology involves cryptography from beginning to end. This means that “this system has the foundations to extend the possibility of voting electronically to every Fribourg citizen, without having to replace [the system],” Gagnaux-Morel explained.
Judging by voters’ reactions, from a user’s point of view the new system is a “bit easier than the previous one”.
Overcoming the recent test was essential. Fribourg is the first of nine cantons which used the consortium system “Vote électronique” – discontinued by the Swiss government in August 2015 because of security holes – to now start using it again and offer it to its citizens living abroad.
Furthermore, it was the first time that the “Swiss Post e-voting” system was used, developed by the Post Office with the Spanish company Scytl. Scytl had previously developed the system of e-voting used in canton Neuchâtel, which so far has run without a problem but which the canton had not shared.
The other system used successfully in Switzerland is “CHVote”, developed in Geneva and used for several years by cantons Basel City, Bern and Lucerne. In addition, cantons St Gallen and Aargau recently said they planned to use it from autumn 2017. These two cantons had previously been part of the “Vote électronique” consortium.
Translated from Italian by Thomas Stephens