Survey on delivering voting documents and voting abroad
Bern, 23.04.2021 - At the popular vote on 13 June 2021, the Confederation and three cantons are to conduct a survey on the delivery of voting papers and voting when living abroad. Swiss citizens who live in Australia, Brazil and Thailand and who exercise their right to vote in one of the cantons involved will be asked questions about the process. Half of the voters surveyed will receive their voting documents by normal post as before; the other half will receive them on a trial basis via the Swiss representation in the country concerned.
On 19 March 2021, the National Council accepted the Silberschmidt Postulate 20.4348. This instructs the Federal Council to conduct a pilot project, limited in location and time, to examine whether the process of delivering voting papers to Swiss citizens living abroad could be improved. Because of delays in international post, it is not always guaranteed that all Swiss voters who live abroad receive their voting pa-pers early enough to be able to vote.
In order to implement the postulate, the Federal Chancellery, in collaboration with the Consular Directorate of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), will conduct an online survey on the occasion of the popular vote on 13 June 2021. The survey will involve around 1600 Swiss citizens living in Australia, Brazil and Thailand who are registered to vote in the cantons of Aargau, Ticino and Geneva. These voters will be asked when they received their voting papers and when they cast their votes. The cantons will also record when these votes cast abroad arrived at the polling stations in the communes concerned. Naturally it will not be possible to draw any conclusions as to how participants in the survey actually voted.
For the purposes of the survey, the current process for sending out voting papers will be modified on a trial basis. Half of the voters surveyed will have their voting papers sent to them as before, i.e. they will be sent abroad via Swiss Post and then delivered by local postal service providers. The other half will receive their voting papers on a trial basis via the Swiss representation in the country concerned, i.e. the documents will be sent to the relevant representation by diplomatic courier and forwarded to voters from there using the local postal service. A comparison of the two means of de-livery should provide information on the effectiveness and cost of the alternative delivery method. For the vote itself, all the voters surveyed will send their official voting envelope directly to the commune concerned as usual. The delivery process used in this pilot project is permitted under the existing legislation. The costs of the pilot project are borne by the federal government.
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