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Initiatives launched by the click of a mouse

For the Zurich cantonal Council, it is a digital nightmare, he would have stowed away on the loved one for an indefinite period of time in a drawer: E-Collecting, the electronic collection of signatures for popular initiatives and referendums. In the centre of the concerns of the more expense, because it is feared that this option would have a flood of initiatives.

"E-Collecting is no longer an issue, since the Federal Council had decided in April 2017, it will track more to continue," said Stephan Ziegler, head of elections and votes at the statistical office of the Canton of Zurich, in the "Limmattaler Zeitung" the beginning of the year. The cantonal Parliament had the rest, the topic of a long time, the last proposal was submitted ten years ago.

Now, however, a Motion forcing the government to deal with the unpopular issue. The initiative, today filed Thursday in the cantonal Parliament, calls for a legal basis for Collecting electronic signatures "over the Internet or on mobile devices".

Which Canton is the pioneer?

one of the first signatories Andrew Katumba (SP) says: "It is an important step in the direction of the digitized democracy." When everything is going right, could be collected up in three years, signatures, and presented. Katumba hopes that Zurich has assumed a pioneering role, but there is competition. In St. Gallen, a Motion was approved last November, also in Basel-Stadt, there are corresponding efforts. Striking: In all cantons, the Polparteien such as SP and SVP, the push E-Collecting. So, those parties that submit even now, most of the initiatives. The middle parties are, meanwhile, on the brake.

Katumba hoped for an expansion of political participation. So, today, on a particularly busy locations in the city centres of signatures were to be gathered there, where it has the most people. This is problematic. People in border regions or in Switzerland, living abroad, were excluded in the present System of political processes, says Katumba. "Our Motion is a procedural request, therefore, a Democracy for all."

E-Voting in Geneva flopped

The E-Collecting lived long in the shadows behind the much-discussed E-Voting. The Canton of Geneva developed in 2014 as a platform for electronic voting in polls. Other cantons jumped on and took advantage of the same platform. The euphoria was big, a country-wide introduction of E-Voting seemed to be just a matter of time. Last November, the Geneva cantonal government, and the freeze project decided it was Too expensive, too complex, too large, the uncertainty with regard to the data handling.

"We do not consider E-Voting, but E-Collecting for the actual Revolution of direct democracy." Uwe Serdült, a political scientist

The temporary demise of the E-Voting is now facing the rise of the E-Collecting. Many experts and politicians are unanimous: This digitization measure, has great potential, the political landscape. The political scientist Uwe Serdült by the centre for democracy Aarau Collecting addresses in one study, engrossed with the subject of the email. "We do not consider E-Voting, but E-Collecting for the actual Revolution of direct democracy."

Political influence for Facebook and co.

The study but also points to the dangers: The increased number of referendums and popular initiatives that could bring the support of an E-Collecting system "to the Public at the limit of what is Reasonable". E-Collecting can produce according to Serdült new political actors. Because it's not the parties, who within a short period of time electronic are collecting signatures capable of, but "typically are pay sites with a high number of visitors".

The study is called "news portals of big media houses or TV shows with a strong online presence". Also Facebook and co. might have a word to say: E-Collecting was almost "take an invitation for non-Swiss based Internet portals" to influence the national policy. "Traditional political actors run the risk with regard to collection of signatures to be obsolete."

E-Collecting light

Such fears, the campaign expert Daniel Graf, who is considered a pioneer in the E-Collecting debate into perspective. "The enthusiasm would be to big," he says. "It is quite possible that additional actors to be superior to a collection of signatures." In a flood, he does not believe, however. Also digitally and a lot of organization, Know-how, and use is necessary to implement an Initiative.

This assessment is based on Graf's experience with the platform Wecollect, he runs for 2016. Basically, she does what aspires to Katumba, in the Canton of Zurich. Currently be collected on Wecollect the same for five different concerns of signatures, among other things, for the Initiative "Against arms exports in the civil war countries", which has reached the necessary Quorum after a short time. The catch: Due to the current law should not be communicated to the signatures electronically to the administration. For this, the government should create the legal foundations. The printer and the post-dispatch for the signature would be superfluous.

the count proposes to launch E-Collecting in Zurich as a test: "After about five years, the Situation can be better assessed." Too many initiatives should come to you electronically, would you consider still an increase in the necessary number of signatures. Currently, in the Canton of 6000 signatures for an Initiative is necessary. (

Created: 17.01.2019, 11:19 PM

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