October 20, 2005
Voters go to polls armed with mobile phones
The first ever SMS vote is taking place in Switzerland with the residents of Bülach using mobile phone text messages to decide on speed restrictions in the town, reports Swiss Info.
The Bülach vote will be followed by similar ballots in two other communities also in canton Zurich, after which the federal authorities will decide whether to roll out text voting throughout the country.
Project leader, David Knöri of canton Zurich's Office for Statistics explained that SMS voting will bring Swiss voting technology into the 21st century, following a successful internet voting trial in Aniéres, canton Geneva, in January 2003. Knöri also believes the new technology will change voting habits in Switzerland. "We forecast that particularly younger people will take advantage of e-voting, but we have seen in Bülach that many middle-aged people regularly use SMS too," he said. "I don't necessarily think that more people will vote as a result of e-voting but I do believe that many people who used to send their votes in the post will switch to SMS."
Each user will be sent a unique user ID through the post. They also have to enter a personal code and their date of birth before they can send their vote, which is recorded to prevent repeat voting.
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