Federal Council authorises use of online voting in 2023 National Council elections

Bern, 16.08.2023 - At its meeting on 16 August, the Federal Council granted the cantons of Basel-Stadt, St Gallen and Thurgau basic licences to trial online voting (e-voting) in the National Council elections on 22 October. The basic licences are valid for a limited section of the electorate.

The Federal Council has concluded that e-voting can be approved for limited use in the 2023 National Council elections. Today's decision allows three cantons to gain further experience using Swiss Post's e-voting system.

Online voting is to be available to Swiss voters abroad who are registered in any of the three cantons that have applied for a basic licence. The canton of Basel-Stadt also allows Swiss citizens with a disability to vote online. In the canton of St Gallen, a limited number of Swiss voters from communes offering e-voting can also register to vote online. In all, the cantons are asking for around 65,000 voters to be authorised for e-voting in the National Council elections – around 1.2% of the Swiss electorate.

On 3 March the Federal Council had already granted the cantons of Basel-Stadt, St Gallen and Thurgau basic licences to trial e-voting in federal votes. The three cantons used Swiss Post’s new e-voting system that offers the feature of complete verifiability for the first time in the popular vote on 18 June, with around 65,000 eligible voters being authorised to vote online. The cantons and the Federal Chancellery viewed this first use in a popular vote as a success.

Separate basic licences are required to use e-voting in National Council elections. In addition to a basic licence from the Federal Council, any canton wishing to run an e-voting trial also needs authorisation from the Federal Chancellery for each individual ballot. For the 2023 National Council elections, the three cantons received authorisation from the Federal Chancellery at the same time as the basic licence from the Federal Council.

The e-voting system and its operation are developed and reviewed on an ongoing basis. The measures planned for the 2023 National Council elections to ensure that e-voting is further improved have been implemented. The latest reports from the independent examination commissioned by the Federal Chancellery were published today. Examinations will continue to be carried out by independent experts mandated by the Federal Chancellery, alongside public scrutiny by Swiss Post within the bug bounty programme and regular public intrusion tests.

The last time e-voting was used in National Council elections was in 2015, when it was authorised for 132,134 voters in the cantons of Geneva, Lucerne, Basel-Stadt and Neuchâtel. A total of 13,370 electronic votes were cast using the individually verifiable e-voting systems of the cantons of Geneva and Neuchâtel.

Address for enquiries

Urs Bruderer
Federal Chancellery, Deputy Head of Communication
+41 58 483 99 69


The Federal Council

Federal Chancellery