The cost of evoting seen by the federal state or cantonal (local) states

The cost is envisaged 1 by the cantons around 4.-2 each ballot filed (approx. 3.20 to 3.65 of the total costs of a paper ballot, with about 0.82 fr of additional cost for the electronic channel and minus the economy of counting).

An average local state count approximately 200,000 qualified voters (eg Geneva-GE or Wallis(Matterhorn's state)-VS). The pilots, several surveys and statistics show that at least 50,000 votes will be cast electronicaly per session, on average four times per year.

As Switzerland has 4.5 million voters (swiss citizens), so the size of the market can be assessed accordingly at least 18 million francs per year  (that is for the federal level, many cantons allow foreigners to vote in municipal government, that is approximately 50% more).

The alternative offered by xVote 

The effectiveness of xVote, its security and optimal architecture, its data protection and separation of roles, its structure distributed with high availability and flexibility, allow to consider a much more advantageous prices and innovative forms of commercial proposals.

For the record, xVote deals with the whole cycle, since the option of secure sending of the dematerialized voting card, it is suitable for both votes (yes/no choices) and elections (eg deputies choice), for the legal conditions in Switzerland or abroad, for public or the private market (firms, associations, etc.).

Its use is simple and free for the citizen: stop and resume, no movement, no shipping costs.

Three main types of uses are possible (by the local states or cantons), the conditions are projected as follows


Using independently (without support or services) the licensed Open Source version :



Using the full commercial license, with standard supports and services (integration and special advices at additional costs) :

1 francs
each entered ballot.


Full exploitation services (outsourcing of xVote and additional systems) with standards support and advices (integration and special advices at additional cost):

2,65 francs
each entered ballot.

Software as a Service

Cover costs and amortization of development (during five years) takes place from:

  1. - 4 or 5 average local states (cantons) licensed

  2. - Or 2 to 3 average cantons operating under full outsourcing3.

 Excluding the revenue from the extension to foreign states, and use in the private market (Limited or Cooperative societies). 

Beyond these quotas, including depreciation, or after five years of depreciation, revenues are fully beneficiaries.

For example, for individual cantons (local states) of Vaud (VD) and Valais (VS) and Freiburg (FR), approx 850'000 voters, amortization of development operations (2) occurs in about 2 ¾ years, and profit is then about a million and a half each year. Or, again as an example, just for the single canton of Bern (BE; about 750,000 voters), depreciation would take place in about three years, and earnings would be well above a million a year.

Finally, if only half of Switzerland was under option (2), amortization of development would take place in six months, then would be generated a profit about five million francs per year.

Cost comparison 

To demonstrate the difference of approach and get a full perspective, to compare the costs to communities is eloquent:
Type of vote
Cost per ballot returned*
(four votes per year, a quarter of citizens use Internet)

Paper ballots (figures from the Federal Chancellery)
between 3,20 and 3,65 francs
usual referenda and elections
Electronic voting in Switzerland, according to the Federal Chancellery
over 10 years
(w/harmonization of electors' registers)
not included
more than 11 francs
approx. 4.5 million voters.

Electronic voting in Geneva
not taken into account
(total cost is 5,3 Mfr)

only counted
4.40 francs at all
nearly 220,000 voters.
The cost is hardly decreasing with the increase of the base.
only votes (referenda)
over 5 years
all included 2.65§ francs
(after the first vote)
Depreciation is calculated for only 2 to 3 cantons (each with an average of 200,000 voters). The operating cost after depreciation is only 1.13 francs.
For the West Switzerland, the cost during the depreciation time would be 1 .- and then only 0.56 francs after five years.
For half of Switzerland the costs would be respectively 0.87 and 0.49 francs.
The costs are the same for the expatriates (no mailing required).
For referenda and elections in full generality,
With tools for initiative, referendum and so on.
    (*) Some administrative costs, communication, marketing or user support could apply, but they would not fundamentally change the result.
§) In fact, the depreciation should not be concentrated solely on Switzerland, and there should be a global service for maintenance, extension, and specialist support, the cost would be stable between the depreciation cost and the pure exploitation cost(somewhere between 0.70 and 1.90).

The explanation for these contrasted costs is that xVote was designed so radically different, from a healthy abstraction of the overall needs, and developed with tools, structures and methods completely and far more powerful: this is reflected accordingly in the reliability and simplicity of operations

Example calculation of return

The design, organization and development, all costs included, with documentation and technical communication, internal testing, load testing and qualification, related services and complementary development package delivery, support and the proto-operation of the three pilots (one local state, ev. at most two), represent a cost of about 4.3 Mfr4. That is a straight-line depreciation over five years at about 860'000 .- fr/year.

The operation (after the test sequence included in the pilot development) requires up to four positions, depending on the number of cantons to support. With a load of 200,000 .- per year and per post

The depreciation of servers equipment (505'000.-), employees' personnal equipment and furniture (five-year recurring) is 100'900 .- fr / year.

The hosting servers at three sites5, at a cost of 48'750 .- per year.

The rental of premises (200m2), expenses, supplies and maintenance, is 80'000 .- fr / year.

Travel costs are 25'000 .- by position and year (half the load is technical, half in support+advice with travel) 

The annual costs are between 455'000 and 1'130'000 .- fr / year depending on the number of user cantons  (one to thirteen = half of Switzerland), the unit cost of the ballot is therefore 2.27 fr to 0.49 fr, accordingly of the pool of potential e-voters (based on a quarter of returned ballots).

Examples of return depending on the number of potential users:

Number of citizens Nb of positions Annual operation costs +depreciation over five years one ballot cost, w/depreciation earnings after depreciation one ballot costs earnings
(¼ utilisant) first five years after five years depreciation
200000 1 454'670.-- 1'317'290.-- 6.59 -.- 2.27 75'330.-
300000 1 454'670.-- 1'317'290.-- 4.39 -.- 1.52 340'330.-
400000 1.5 567'170.-- 1'429'790.-- 3.57 -.- 1.42 492'830.-
500000 1.5 567'170.-- 1'429'790.-- 2.86 -.- 1.13 757'830.-
600000 2 679'670.-- 1'542'290.-- 2.57 47'710.- 1.13 910'330.-
700000 2 679'670.-- 1'542'290.-- 2.20 312'710.- 0.97 1'175'330.-
800000 2 679'670.-- 1'542'290.-- 1.93 577'710.- 0.85 1'440'330.-
900000 2.5 792'170.-- 1'654'790.-- 1.84 730'210.- 0.88 1'592'830.-
1000000 2.5 792'170.-- 1'654'790.-- 1.65 995'210.- 0.79 1'857'830.-
1100000 2.5 792'170.-- 1'654'790.-- 1.50 1'260'210.- 0.72 2'122'830.-
1200000 3 904'670.-- 1'767'290.-- 1.47 1'412'710.- 0.75 2'275'330.-
1300000 3 904'670.-- 1'767'290.-- 1.36 1'677'710.- 0.70 2'540'330.-
1400000 3 904'670.-- 1'767'290.-- 1.26 1'942'710.- 0.65 2'805'330.-
1500000 3 904'670.-- 1'767'290.-- 1.18 2'207'710.- 0.60 3'070'330.-
1600000 3.5 1'017'170.-- 1'879'790.-- 1.17 2'360'210.- 0.64 3'222'830.-
1700000 3.5 1'017'170.-- 1'879'790.-- 1.11 2'625'210.- 0.60 3'487'830.-
1800000 3.5 1'017'170.-- 1'879'790.-- 1.04 2'890'210.- 0.57 3'752'830.-
1900000 3.5 1'017'170.-- 1'879'790.-- 0.99 3'155'210.- 0.54 4'017'830.-
2000000 4 1'129'670.-- 1'992'290.-- 1.00 3'307'710.- 0.56 4'170'330.-
2100000 4 1'129'670.-- 1'992'290.-- 0.95 3'572'710.- 0.54 4'435'330.-
2200000 4 1'129'670.-- 1'992'290.-- 0.91 3'837'710.- 0.51 4'700'330.-
2300000 4 1'129'670.-- 1'992'290.-- 0.87 4'102'710.- 0.49 4'965'330.-

Expense of management, administration, assistance to citizens, and expenses and amortization of communication or public relations may come sooner or later as supplementary spending. 

1For the Federal Chancellery (*) the electronic voting would cost between 400 and 600 million francs. Say about 500 million francs. With the 10-year amortization, and excluding other expenses (exploitation), with participation and usage rates by half each, four times a year, this represents a cost of more than 11 francs per casted ballot.


2Pur operating costs, depreciation (development and equipment investment) is not taken in the amount.

3Electorate of about 539'500 citizens (out of them ¼ vote via the Internet) - unit costs, including depreciation, from 2.65 fr / bulletin.

4Valid Q4 2008. Including the development and proto-exploitation of the main modes of use of the customer: "Virtual Machine", "Virtual Desktop as a Service" and ev. "Virtual Machine Just in Time", see 20080908_1254.html  (English) or 20080908_1254.pdf  (French)

5The two main sites "Habilitation" et "Scrutation & Al.", and some services including those for VDaaS mode.