The parliamentary elections on Sunday were both a success and failure for the large community of Swiss voters living abroad. On the one hand, electronic voting worked in the four cantons that introduced the system for expatriate voters. However, none of the Swiss abroad who stood for election were voted in.
“We are both delighted and grateful to the cantons for carrying out these tests and to the government for allowing them,” Rudolf Wyder, director of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), told swissinfo.ch. It was the first time that electronic voting was possible.
More than 3,500 expatriates registered to vote were able to benefit from e-voting in cantons Basel City, St Gallen, Graubünden and Aargau. That amounts to 53.1 per cent of the Swiss abroad who cast ballots in these cantons, the Federal Chancellery said on Monday.
Both the chancellery and the authorities in the participating cantons were satisfied with the experiment and spoke of a “complete success”, highlighting the desire to extend the introduction of e-voting nationwide.
“It is an important step but it’s also important to continue,” Wyder said, adding that the Council of the Swiss Abroad had already requested the general introduction of e-voting for the next parliamentary election in 2015.
The Council of the OSA maintains that it is unfair that not all expatriates are allowed to take part in e-voting. The government has limited the right to residents of the European Union, a few other European nations designated by the Swiss authorities and states that are signatories to the “Wassenaar Arrangement”. Only countries that have signed up to the latter – a pact on export controls of arms and dual-use goods – are considered by Bern to be able to guarantee freedom of expression.