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.

Device-independent

The system can be used independently of platforms and devices, whether on your smartphone, tablet or computer.

Accessibility

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).

Prevents errors

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.

Security advices

Voters can ensure the e-voting process is successful by voting according to the instructions. In particular, this includes comparing the choice return codes generated before casting the vote with the codes on the physical voting documents. To cast the vote, the ballot casting key from the physical voting documents is typed onto the device being used to vote. The vote cast code, which is displayed after the vote has been cast, must also be compared with the vote cast code on the physical voting documents. This process is known as individual verifiability. This allows voters to check their vote has been cast unaltered, and that it has been registered correctly in the electronic ballot box.

Additionally, voters can carry out various checks on the device used for voting to ensure their vote has not been manipulated.

The various measures are laid out below.

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.

What do I do if my browser displays an incorrect fingerprint?

You should stop the voting process and inform the canton (support team).

An incorrectly displayed web page certificate fingerprint means that there is no direct connection between the web browser and the voting platform. In most cases, the interruption is actually the result of a protective measure rather than being linked to an attempt at fraud. For example, certain companies disrupt the connection between employees' computers and the Internet platforms in their networks to filter data traffic for harmful data. Virus protection programs can also be used in this way and configured accordingly.

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.

Verify hash values (extended check)

To ensure the JavaScript code on the voter’s device carries out the intended operations and encodes the vote correctly, the voter can verify the integrity of the JavaScript code and the root certificate used. To do this, voters can compare the hash values of the two JavaScript files in question with the values published on the e-voting portal. These can be found in the website source code of the e-voting portal.

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.

Videos about security

Various built-in mechanisms and special security-related and cryptographic precautions ensure that security and data protection are guaranteed.

How voting secrecy is guaranteed

How to check my own vote with e-voting

How e-voting results can be checked and recounted

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:


  • Verifiability

    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.
  • End-to-end encryption

    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.

  • Illustration Geburtsjahr

    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 return codes, the ballot casting key and the vote cast code.


Triangle symbol indicating the start voting key.

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.

Square symbol indicating the choice return codes.

Choice return codes

The choice return codes are marked with a DIAMOND and enable so-called individual verifiability.
The choice return codes are a series of numbers which are displayed on the screen in step 3, “Verify and cast vote”. Compare the choice return codes displayed with those in your voting and election documents. If the choice return codes displayed match those in the documents, then you know that your vote has been correctly sealed and sent according to your selection.

Pentagon symbol indicating the ballot casting key.

Ballot casting key

The ballot casting key is marked with a PENTAGON. If the choice return 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.

Star symbol indicating the vote cast code.

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.

Demo

The Swiss Post demo system is currently unavailable. The demo system will be available again with the new e-voting system.

Transparency

Swiss Post believes that only a transparent e-voting solution can be successful in the long term. Swiss Post is therefore relying on cooperation with independent e-voting experts and the continuous development and improvement of its system. Swiss Post is disclosing its new, universally verifiable e-voting system in stages as part of a community programme to allow it to be verified by independent experts.

You can find more information on the Swiss Post system at swisspost.ch/evoting