On 28 November 2021, Swiss voters will cast votes on whether to reverse some of Switzerland’s Covid laws in one of the nations most divisive votes. In the run up to the referendum, numerous complaints have been filed over how it is being handled.
A number of those opposed to the government’s Covid measures are already crying foul before the vote has concluded.
Some opponents of the Covid laws say they fear electoral fraud and have filed complaints accusing the Federal Council of manipulating the public. Around 750 complaints have been filed across Switzerland, reported Le Matin, some of which are the same.
How the referendum question has been written is a popular complaint. The Federal Chancellery, which has the task of managing votes, requires the text to refer to the law that is being voted on. In this case the vote is aimed at rejecting Covid laws formulated by Switzerland’s parliament in March 2021 and the question therefore reflects this. As a result, the Covid certificate, a key point of contention, is not mentioned on the voting slip. Karl Spühler, a former federal judge, told the NZZ am Sonntag that the free will of voters must be clearly expressed in a referendum. For that to happen the question must be unambiguous and that is not the case here.
Complaints have also been lodged regarding the information provided by the Federal Council related to the vote.
It seems unlikely that this Sunday’s vote will to bring an end to divisions. Instead division looks set to shift from the ballot box to the courts.