Three cantons seek damages for failed e-voting system

Swiss Post announced last week that it was freezing the development of its system. Keystone / Alessandro Della Bella

Three Swiss cantons that were preparing to use a new e-voting system this year say they will seek financial compensation after it was unexpectedly withdrawn and put on ice.

This content was published on July 8, 2019 - 16:13

Fribourg, Neuchâtel and Thurgau will seek compensation after spending money on making the system ready to voters in the October elections. Fribourg told the Swiss News Agency Keystone-SDA that it had invested CHF150,000 ($151,000).

A fourth canton, Basel City, said it was considering its options on suing Swiss Post, the state-owned postal service that had developed the system.

The Swiss government recently suspended efforts to enshrine electronic voting in the law. Swiss Post followed this announcement by suspending its e-voting platform, to which the four cantons had already subscribed.

The Swiss Post e-voting service, the only one of its type in Switzerland, ran into problems last year when holes were spotted in the system. It responded by pulling the system out of popular initiative votes in May, but said at the time that it was confident the flaws would be fixed.

Last week Swiss Post also had to cancel plans to use it during October’s parliamentary election.

A spokesperson for the Swiss government said it denied responsibility for the brakes being applied to e-voting, adding that it would be up to the courts to decide if cantons should receive compensation.

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