This website is edited by Ardita Driza Maurer.

A jurist, Ardita works as an independent legal consultant in political rights, electoral legislation and new voting technologies. She was appointed leading expert of the Council of Europe Ad hoc Committee of Experts on legal, operational and technical standards for e-voting (CAHVE). Ardita led the experts’ work of updating the 2004 Recommendation Rec(2004)11 on e-voting. A new Recommendation and guidelines were approved by CAHVE in November 2016.

Ardita was previously a member and director of the internet voting project at the Swiss Federal Chancellery (2006-2012). Her contributions include evaluation reports; e-voting regulation, planning, implementation and supervision; monitoring compliance of e-voting with international standards and good practice; developing national and international electoral data standards.

Ardita works on a database of e-voting legislation and case-law worldwide (upcoming www.evotingdatabase.org), a follow-up to “E-Voting Case Law: A Comparative Analysis” (Routledge, 2015). Co-edited with Jordi Barrat, “E-Voting Case Law” discusses e-voting in thirteen countries and provides an overview of e-voting regulatory instruments and case-law worldwide.

In 2017 Ardita joined the University of Zurich, Centre for Democracy Studies (ZDA) as a doctoral researcher. She writes a PhD thesis on the relation between the constitutional principles of freedom to vote and the use of new voting technologies, namely e-voting.

In addition to e-voting, Ardita works on other electoral issues and cooperates with several international organisations.

Contact: Email info[at]electoralpractice[dot]ch, LinkedIn profile.

About this website

From e-voting to e-electing, e-collecting and e-petitioning, electoral and electronics are increasingly being conjugated together. To be clear, the use of information technology (IT) in the electoral processes is not a new phenomena – think for example of the electronic counting of hand-filled ballot papers. However, the acknowledgment that it needs to be specifically regulated is a much more recent “trend”. It developed alongside increasing awareness of problems with voting machines and to skepticism towards introduction of internet voting for political elections at the beginning of 2000. This blog discusses the use of IT in political votes and elections mainly in Switzerland and Europe from a legal point of view.

Political rights (right to vote, elect, sign initiatives and referendums) are a passionate subject and the trend towards going digital a challenging one. Switzerland is an interesting laboratory: its 26 cantons (States) implement a broad spectrum of direct and representative democracy instruments. In addition, the cantons, and sometime the communes, have implemented a multitude of technical solutions which differ from canton to canton. There is also a tradition of continuously adapting voting procedures to changing social needs: Switzerland if for example one of the only countries in the world to have completely liberalized postal voting (advanced, distant voting via the postal channel). Going digital is the latest trend.

A few other countries in Europe use internet voting for political elections. The use of voting machines is more widespread. The de-certification of voting machines and return to pencil-and-paper voting (2007/8) in the Netherlands and the decision of the Constitutional Court of Germany (2009) which declared voting machines unconstitutional as long as the system does not offer the possibility to the average voter to check the integrity of the results have influenced recent e-voting developments in Europe. At the same time the need to facilitate voting procedures, to speed up delivery and return of voting material as well as to shorten delays and reduce costs is very present. Politically speaking, offering an appropriate voting channel to expatriates has become a priority.

In this context, reflection on e-voting regulation becomes increasingly important not only at the legislator’s level but also at the implementation, operational and control levels. Existing instruments such as national regulations, international recommendations, conventions, agreements, operational requirements etc. need to be (and are being) revisited and upgraded in the light of last decade’s experiences.

Invited contributors

From time to time we welcome articles from invited contributors.

Invited contributor Jordi BARRAT I ESTEVE

Jordi is professor of constitutional law at the University of Rovira i Virgili and coordinator of eVoting Legal Lab. He is based in Reus (Catalonia/Spain). He is an electoral observer and consultant for international institutions.

Contact: Email jordi[dot]barrat[at]gmail[dot]com, LinkedIn profile.

Invited contributor Richard Hill

Richard is the principal  of Hill & Associates in Geneva, Switzerland. He has an extensive background in information systems, telecommunications, negotiation, mediation, and conflict management.

Contact: info@hill-a.ch     http://www.hill-a.ch

Language Policy

To allow for a broad discussion, this blog is written (mainly) in English.


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