Bern, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) - Five additional cantons will be able to offer electronic voting to their citizens in November 2010 federal elections, bringing the total number to 12 cantons, nearly half of the country. The Swiss federal electoral commission announced the decision 8 September. The November ballots take electronic voting, in which Switzerland is a world leader, a step further: this is the first time a popular initiative or citizens-created referendum item, will be voted on.
Some 190,000 voters abroad, or 4.1 percent of the voting population, will be able to vote electronically. Voting from abroad has long posed a problem for the nearly 700,00 (close to 10 percent of the total population) Swiss citizens abroad because ballots are mailed three weeks before votes, which in many cases does not allow enough time to forward the material and have the voter return it for the deadline.
The cantons with electronic voting options in November are:
Aargau, Basel City, Fribourg, Geneva, Graubuenden/Grisons, Lucerne, Neuchatel, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, St Gallen, Thurgau and Zurich. Seven of the cantons are part of a consortium that has adopted the Zurich electronic ballot system.
The federal government has reserved the right to extend the electronic systems depending on the successful use of electronic voting in a 26 September voting session.
Federal web site for Swiss abroad, in English, with practical information, including instructions for voting