Ardita DRIZA MAURER, jurist, LL.M., is a legal consultant in political rights, electoral legislation and new voting technologies. She edits electoralpractice.ch

Ardita has worked on e-voting since 2006 when she joined the internet voting project at the Swiss Federal Chancellery initially as a member and later as a director. She has contributed to drafting regulations and soft-law instruments on e-voting; planning, launching and supervising the e-voting channel; monitoring compliance with national and international standards and good practice; developing electoral data standards.

Since 2013 Ardita works as an independent legal consultant. She participates in ongoing work on e-voting at the Council of Europe. She was appointed in April 2015 leading expert of the Council of Europe Ad hoc Committee of Experts on legal, operational and technical standards for e-voting (CAHVE) and tasked with the drafting of a Roadmap for the update of the Recommendation (Rec(2004)11) on e-voting (more).

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





Jordi BARRAT is a legal scholar and an invited contributor to this website.

Jordi is based in Reus (Catalonia/Spain) and his main commitment consists in expanding a constitutionalist flavour among his 1st-year law students. In 2003 Jordi discovered that e-voting might become an interesting meeting point for legal practicioners, social scentists and computer experts and started to introduce a legal and constitutional approach still often neglected in this field. Jordi conducts research to assess how the traditional electoral principles may be adapted to a technological sphere where voters use new devices to cast their ballot. He is an electoral observer as well as electoral consultant for several international institutions, including the Council of Europe, OSCE/ODIHR, OAS and IFES.

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

External contributions to this blog are welcomed. Interested in posting your own information? Contact us at info(at)electoralpractice(dot)ch.

Language Policy

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


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