A successful premiere for Swiss Post’s e-voting system

Swiss Post’s new e-voting system was used for the first time in the recent contest in the Cantons of Basel-Stadt, St. Gallen and Thurgau. The first 4239 people cast their electronic votes. Michael Egger, Head of E-voting at Swiss Post, sums up how things went and explains what’s next for e-voting.

Michael Egger, last weekend the Cantons of Basel-Stadt, St. Gallen and Thurgau used Swiss Post’s new e-voting system for the very first time to conduct votes. From Swiss Post’s point of view: how did the first round of e-voting go?
We’re very satisfied, and can say it was a success. 4239 people cast their votes electronically between mid-May and 17 June, which was 16 percent of all those eligible for e-voting.

And what does this mean for Swiss Post?
What’s even more important to us than this number is the fact that very few people “gave up”. In other words, the vast majority of eligible voters who began the e-voting process followed through with it and actually cast their electronic vote.

When the ballot boxes closed, the cantons used verification software to check the whole voting process. Checks showed that there were no irregularities. This means all electronic votes cast were and are valid, voting secrecy was guaranteed at all times and the results were counted accurately.

Does this mean there were no attacks?
No, there were no attacks on the e-voting platform, which our IT infrastructure’s firewall would have needed to fend off. The e-voting process wasn’t affected by DDOS attacks from last week, either.

How was Swiss Post prepared for this first contest?
It was a long and intense journey: Swiss Post has been working on a system in Switzerland for Switzerland since 2019. In other words, we have spent a considerable time developing the system, and invested a huge amount in security. We performed extensive, meticulous tests on the system before using it for the first time. Not only did we do this with our own specialists, we also sought the outside opinion of independent experts, who thoroughly examined the system. During the recent contest, we monitored the system on a continuous basis, and assisted the cantons with any system-related queries. Our employees were also available in person in the cantons over the weekend to provide support if needed.

This week, we’re going to sit down with the cantons, who are our customers, and the Federal Chancellery, the supervisory authority, to analyse the processes. We have already detected some potential areas for improvement, which we will take into account for future contests.

What improvements specifically?
This contest just gone has shown us how important it is for processes to be efficient, and how the flow of information between stakeholders has to be quick. This is why we are going to partially redesign and reorganize our internal processes and the interfaces to our partner cantons and the relevant bodies within the Swiss Confederation (the NCSC in addition to the Federal Chancellery). This means we will be even better prepared in the event of any incidents.

What’s next for e-voting?

Michael Egger, Head of E-voting at Swiss Post



Swiss Post will continue to rely on the expertise of specialists from all over the world in the future. After all, and this is important, IT security isn’t static, but an ongoing process. Swiss Post is continually refining its system, and is guided by the catalogue of measures set out by the Swiss Confederation and the cantons. Swiss Post will continue to examine the system for security vulnerabilities and take into account developments in IT security on an ongoing basis. Testing will also continue as part of our bug bounty programme, i.e. hackers will still have the opportunity to report findings as part of this scheme. Additionally, we will conduct the next intrusion test from 12 to 31 July. This is where ethical hackers will be able to hack into the system and look for vulnerabilities in the infrastructure. Swiss Post carries out the public intrusion test on a recurring basis (though for a limited time) in accordance with legal requirements.

And what will happen at the Swiss federal elections in autumn 2023? Will the system be used again?
The cantons decide whether to submit an application to do so to the Federal Council, and after this successful premiere, we’re confident they will.

Facts and figures on the premiere of the new e-voting system:


Total votes cast electronically: 4239

E-votes cast successfully (as a proportion of those who began the e-voting process): 93 %

Period in which voters were able to vote electronically: Mid-May (15 May for the Canton of Thurgau and 22 May for the Cantons of St. Gallen and Basel-Stadt) – until 17 June 2023.

Swiss Post support: Swiss Post representatives were on call throughout the contest, and were available during the weekend of the initial ballot in the cantons in person to provide any support required.

Next step for the e-voting system: Intrusion test from 12 to 31 July 2023.

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