09 November 2005

Town in Switzerland holds election by SMS

The town of Bülach, Switzerland has reportedly been the first to hold a municipal election using SMS voting. According to the article in Swissinfo, 11.6 percent of the electorate cast their vote from a cellphone, while 25.7 percent voted over the internet. Bülach is an extremely small town (445 voters) near Zurich.

Internet voting is likewise a recent innovation in Switzerland. In January '03 it was introduced in Anières, near Geneva. SMS and internet voting involve essentially identical technologies: the voter logs into an "account" with a personal identification number (PIN) which ensures only one vote per online voter (via Textually).

About 22,000 Swiss now have the option of voting online (AP). The AP story was posted in Sep. '04, when only a tiny share of Swiss had this option; about 90% of voters at that time preferred to vote by mail. This is mainly because of Switzerland's system of direct democracy, in which people vote several times a year for a variety of different proposals. Authorities have been worried that turnout is slipping to 50%, so the fact that it this one particular town something like a third of voters used the new technology suggests that at least some voters may have been drawn back into the process.


Post a Comment

<< Home