What is E-voting?
Today, eligible voters cast their votes at the ballot box or by post. E-voting makes it possible to vote electronically online via smartphone, tablet or computer, from anywhere and at any time.
This is done by sending a security code to voters by post together with their voting or election documents, which they then use to log in to their canton’s E-voting platform. They can now cast a single vote, which is then stored, encrypted and anonymized in the electronic ballot box. Only the canton’s electoral commission can open the ballot box and decrypt and count the votes.
Security and end-to-end encryption
End-to-end encryption ensures that the digital “reply envelopes” cannot be opened or read from the time the vote is cast on the voter’s device until the moment the ballot box is opened by the cantonal electoral commission.
The system can be used independently of platforms and devices, whether on your smartphone, tablet or computer.
People with disabilities can take part in electronic voting and elections without assistance from others.
Time- and location-independent
Swiss nationals residing in Switzerland and abroad can participate in elections and votes regardless of their location (the canton determines which electoral groups can benefit from E-voting).
A simple user interface prevents formal errors in the election and voting process, such as illegible answers, omitted signatures, incorrectly completed forms and invalid lists.
Quick and accurate
Votes can be counted quickly and accurately.
Checking the certificate’s fingerprint
If you want to check that you are on the correct official E-voting portal, you can check the certificate’s fingerprint. That way you can make sure that you are not on a manipulated or fake website. Certificates are used to guarantee the authenticity of the web server that you are using and to encrypt the communication connection with the server. This enables you to distinguish between genuine and fake websites, even if they may superficially look similar or the same.
Deleting browsing history
If you want to make sure that no conclusions can be drawn about your vote on your device (computer, tablet, smartphone), we recommend clearing the browser cache after every vote. For instructions on how to delete browsing history, click on the browser that you use below.
Use browser mode without add-ons
As an additional precaution, we recommend that you use a browser mode which prevents browser add-ons by default. In Chrome and Microsoft Edge, this is known as incognito mode, in Internet Explorer as InPrivate Browsing and in Safari as Private Browsing. You can also check and deactivate add-ons and browser extensions yourself if necessary.
Various built-in mechanisms and special security-related and cryptographic precautions ensure that security and data protection are guaranteed.
How to check my own vote with e-voting
How e-voting results can be checked and recounted
How voting secrecy is guaranteed
In the system’s most advanced phase of development, the votes cast will be individually and universally verifiable.
You can find a selection of the security mechanisms in place below:
Individual verifiability means that every voter can check that their own vote has been correctly placed in the electronic ballot box without being modified.
Universal verifiability means that, when opening the ballot boxes, the electoral commission can check that neither the ballot boxes nor their contents have been manipulated.
The votes are encrypted at all times, from the moment they are submitted by voters in the voter portal until they are counted.
Encryption of the data on the server
The encrypted votes are stored on ISO- and TÜV-certified Swiss Post servers. The voter’s name and address are not saved on the systems at any time.
Votes cannot be attributed to voters
Once a vote is cast, it cannot be attributed to a specific voter either before or after the votes are counted. This is because the electoral registers in the e-voting system have already been anonymized during the preparation stage in the canton and because the ballots are also separated from the voting cards once cast.
Entering your year of birth
In certain cantons, voters will be asked to enter a second authentication characteristic (such as their year of birth) in addition to the input codes when logging in. Your year of birth will not be shown on your voting card and therefore provides additional security.
Codes on paper
In the e-voting system, voters continue to receive the election documents with the different cryptographic codes in physical form by post. The fact that the codes are sent separately in physical form creates an additional significant layer of security.
How do I vote?
You will receive the codes required to cast your vote together with the election documents. These will also contain the URL for the election and voting portal used by your canton.
The process is defined by four different codes: the start voting key, the choice codes, the ballot casting key and the vote cast code.
Start voting key
The start voting key (marked with a TRIANGLE) consists of a series of numbers and letters indicated on your voting card. To identify yourself and to start the vote casting process, you need to enter the start voting key as well as your year of birth on the portal’s start screen.
The choice codes are marked with a DIAMOND and enable so-called individual verifiability.
The choice codes are a series of numbers which are displayed on the screen in step 3, “Verify and cast vote”. Compare the choice codes displayed with those in your voting and election documents. If the choice codes displayed match those in the documents, then you know that your vote has been correctly sealed and sent according to your selection.
Ballot casting key
The ballot casting key is marked with a PENTAGON. If the choice codes shown in step 3, “Verify and cast vote”, are correct, you must type in the ballot casting key in order to cast your vote in the electronic ballot box. If you do not enter your ballot casting key, your vote will not be cast in the electronic ballot box. In this case, you will still be able to cast your vote by post or at the ballot box.
Vote cast code
The vote cast code is marked with a STAR on your voting card. The vote cast code allows you to check whether the voting process has been successfully completed in step 4 “Vote cast”. If the vote cast code matches the code displayed, then you have successfully completed the voting process.
You can try out Swiss Post’s e-voting system in a fictitious vote and fictitious elections here.
The voting card will be sent to you by e-mail with further instructions. Please enter all details for this purpose.
The demo is only available in the 4 national languages: French, German, Italian and Rumantsch
Do you need help with the voting process? Call us on 0800 99 88 66 (8am – 5pm). Free of charge from a Swiss landline
Swiss Post believes that only a transparent and politically neutral E-voting solution can be successful in the long term. For this reason, Swiss Post publishes a certain number of documents and concepts.Transparency and publications
The following cantons are already using our solutions
In Fribourg, Swiss citizens living abroad have been able to vote electronically since the elections held on 27 November 2016. Since autumn 2017, Swiss citizens in Switzerland have also had this option in certain pilot municipalities.
Since the contest on 12 February 2017, Neuchâtel has used Swiss Post’s system on the cantonal portal “Guichet Unique”.
Thurgau has decided in favour of the Swiss Post system and is planning its introduction for the vote in autumn 2018.
Glarus opted for Swiss Post’s system at the beginning of 2018. The E-Voting system should be available to all Glarus residents in time for the National Council and Council of States elections in 2019.
The Canton of Basel-Stadt is planning to implement Swiss Post’s system for the first time in 2019 and would like to make the electronic voting option available to both citizens resident in Switzerland and those resident abroad.