Switzerland Tests Virtual Democracy in National Referendum

“Swiss authorities Sunday hailed as a success what they said was the world’s first binding Internet vote in a national referendum.

Some 2,723 people in four Geneva suburbs — around 22 percent of voters in the region who participated in the referendum — cast their ballots online on issues including naturalization laws, maternity leave and postal reform.

It took officials 13 minutes and 5 seconds to count the contents of the “virtual ballot box,” cantonal (state) officials said.

Swiss authorities decided to organize the Internet vote following a string of successful local online polls in Geneva and other cities.

“The success of this first pilot in the framework of a federal ballot is an important milestone for remote electronic voting in Switzerland,” said Annemarie Huber-Hotz, head of Switzerland’s federal chancellory.”