Plans for permanent e-vote option put to consultation

Trials with a limited number of voters have taken place in Switzerland since 2004. Keystone

The Swiss government is going ahead with plans to introduce the option of permanent electronic voting, defying criticism by opponents over security issues.

A draft bill has been approved and will be sent for consultation to political parties, the cantons and other organisations and institutions, according to a statement on Wednesday by the Federal Chancellery.

A final proposal is subject to approval by parliament at a later stage.

The government says it wants to pursue its policy of a gradual introduction of e-voting as an additional possibility besides the postal vote or at the ballot box. In June, the chancellery announced it was mandated to draft a consultation paper. 

More than 300 trials with a limited scope have been carried out successfully over the past 14 years, according to the chancellery.

However, critics argue the electronic voting channel can be manipulated and moves are underway to launch an initiative aimed at a five-year moratorium, following a defeat in parliament earlier this year.

The Swiss Abroad community has been pushing for e-voting to be made available to all citizens living overseas by 2021. 

+ The e-voting petition by the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad

Currently expat Swiss from ten of the country’s 26 cantons are eligible for e-voting.

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