The Federal Council has renewed the authorisation of the Swiss cantons of Bern, Lucerne, Fribourg, Basel City and Geneva to offer e-voting to the Swiss Abroad. This will permit more than 100,000 Swiss expats to vote electronically in referendums.
On Monday, the seven-member executive allowed the five cantons to continue offering Swiss citizens residing abroad the possibility to vote electronically.
In addition, 30% of voters residing in canton Geneva can cast their electronic ballot in federal votes. The Canton of Basel City also plans to increase the proportion of its resident voters who eligible to vote online from 2019 onward. Those with disabilities already have access to this option. The canton of Fribourg may increase access to e-voting by 50%. The law allows this possibility provided the voting system and cantonal procedures have been certified.
The canton of Geneva introduced its own voting system called CHVote in 2003, which has also been adopted by the cantons of Bern and Lucerne. For these cantons, the general authorisation will be granted for the period up to and including the vote of February 9, 2020 (Swiss citizens vote on referendums at the local, cantonal and federal level up to four times a year).
The canton of Geneva, which recently announced it will be shelving its e-voting platform, will guarantee the functioning of its system until February 2020. The canton of Basel City will switch to the Swiss Post platform as of the vote of February 10, 2019. The canton of Fribourg will continue using the Swiss Post platform, which it had adopted in 2016. Both Basel City and Fribourg will be granted a general authorisation for the years 2019 and 2020.
In addition to the approval of the Federal Council, the Federal Chancellery has to ensure that the cantons fulfill the conditions for electronic voting.
In all, some 148,000 voters residing in Switzerland and 104,000 Swiss voters abroad should be able to vote electronically in the vote scheduled for February 10, 2019. These figures include resident and overseas voters from the cantons of Fribourg, Basel City, St. Gallen, Neuchâtel and Geneva, as well as voters abroad from the cantons of Bern, Lucerne, Aargau, Thurgau and Vaud.