Misinformation in Voting: A Source of Distrust

Switzerland has extensive experience with referenda. Voting is part of Swiss citizens’ political culture and the guarantee of political rights is enshrined in the Federal Constitution at Article 34. In practice, the main sources of information are shared by authorities. As such, it is absolutely necessary for the population to be able to trust it. However, the information provided by the authorities has recently been challenged in Federal Court. In one case, the Court found that figures conveyed to citizens were false and that the vote should be cancelled. This annulment of a vote at the federal level was a first, and the risk is that it will undermine the citizens’ confidence in the authorities. In order to prevent this, adequate judicial control is needed in addition to the development of effective tools in order to ensure that citizens are provided with a sufficient amount of information.