Electronic Voting: Approaches, Strategies, and Policy Issues—A Report from Switzerland

Chapter
Part of the Information Technology and Law Series book series (ITLS, volume 20)

Abstract

The long-term effects of the Internet on political systems and underlying information processes remain uncertain and are the subject of a new strand of multi-disciplinary—and increasingly quantitatively oriented—research. While the jury is still out, anecdotal and in some cases even empirical evidence from various countries suggest shifts in the ways in which political rights are exercised in the digitally networked environment. Much attention has been paid to the use of digital tools with regard to political campaigns—especially in the context of the recent US presidential campaigns, but also with the role of the Internet in South Korea or during the Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. Admittedly less spectacular and less transformative is the use of the Internet in the context of the voting process itself, which in democratic societies is considered to be a core element within the suite of political rights. Several countries in the Western hemisphere, including Canada, Estonia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Switzerland have acquired some initial experience with Internet voting as a subcategory of a broader set of distant-voting techniques. This article provides an overview of the Swiss experience with e-voting by looking at the respective projects in the cantons of Geneva, Zurich, Neuchatel, and Basel-Stadt, and surveys the key promises and challenges, both from a theoretical and practical perspective. Finally, the article discusses selected legal, technological, and social factors that need to be taken into account and managed when building an institutional framework for e-voting.

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Copyright information

© T.M.C. ASSER PRESS, The Hague, The Netherlands, and the authors 2011 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Berkman Center for Internet and SocietyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Research Center for Information LawThe University of St. GallenSt. GallenSwitzerland

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