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Cabinet gives green light for expat e-vote

About 22,000 Swiss expatriates will be able to vote online in October’s parliamentary elections as part of ongoing trials with electronic voting.

Cabinet approved requests from four pioneering cantons – Basel City, St Gallen, Graubünden and Aargau – on Wednesday.

In total these expat voters account for 0.4 per cent of the Swiss electorate.

It is the first time that ongoing trials with e-voting are being extended to federal elections, according to the Federal Chancellery. To date e-voting tests have been carried out in more than ten out of the 26 cantons for ballots on specific issues.

There were just under 700,000 Swiss who lived abroad at the end of last year, about 136,000 of whom have registered to vote. Most live in neighbouring France, Germany and Italy, but there is also a sizeable number in North America.

The Organisation of the Swiss abroad has welcomed the cabinet’s decision as an  important step towards the introduction of e-voting for all expatriates by October 2015.

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