Counting ballot papers in National Council elections in cantons with more than one seat: ZH, BE, LU, SZ, ZG, FR, SO, BS, BL, SH, SG, GR, AG, TG, TI, VD, VS, NE, GE, JU.
The polling stations have closed, and counting of the ballots can begin. How are votes allocated in National Council elections in cantons with proportional representation?
In cantons with more than one seat in the National Council, seats are first allocated to lists and then to candidates.
Allocation of seats to lists
Each canton has a fixed number of National Council seats. The more inhabitants a canton has, the more seats it has in the National Council.
The seats in the National Council are first allocated to the candidate lists in proportion to the total number of votes each list has received.
List combinations and sub-list combinations of different parties or candidate groups are first treated as a single list: the votes are added together to maximise the chances of gaining an additional seat.
List combinations and sub-combinations
Allocation to candidates of seats obtained by a list
Only once the number of seats obtained by each list has been established can the winners of the election be declared, i.e. the candidates on the list who obtained the most votes. For example, if a list is allocated three seats, the three candidates who obtained the most votes are elected.
If a person is elected and chooses not to take up their seat, or if they step down during their term of office, the candidate on the same list who was not elected but received the next greatest number of votes takes their place.
What happens when there is a draw?
When two or more candidates on a list get the same number of votes, lots are drawn. This happened in the canton of Ticino in the 2011 National Council election.
For more detailed information on how votes are counted and the formulas for calculating the distribution of seats, please see the Federal Chancellery’s guidelines for groups of candidates (pages 21 and 22) (in DE, FR and IT).