Why are there campaign funding laws

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The Department of Security, Institutions and Sport (DSIS) is submitting a preliminary draft to amend the Act on Political Rights (kGPR) for consultation. The main aim of this revision is to ensure transparency in terms of party and campaign funding in the run-up to votes and elections. In addition, two further changes have been made that relate to the explanations on cantonal votes and the procedure for the partial counting of votes cast by post.

As a result of the adoption of the motion ¬ęTransparency in the matter of party and campaign financing¬Ľ, the State Council is to propose an amendment to the Act on Political Rights (kGPR).
The preliminary draft drawn up by the Department of Security, Institutions and Sport (DSIS) focuses on two main areas:

  • Disclosure of party and campaign accounts;
  • Disclosure of donations from legal and natural persons over CHF 5000.

The preliminary draft provides that parties and campaign committees give the public access to their accounts and donor lists. The relevant information must be communicated within ten days to any person who makes a corresponding written request. According to the preliminary draft, this principle of publicity applies to cantonal parties, cantonal ballot boxes and candidates for cantonal elections. For reasons of effort in particular, it was refrained from applying this principle to communal parties as well as to communal elections and votes.

Incidentally, another motion adopted by the Grand Council (right to express one's opinion when voting) was incorporated into the preliminary draft. This is intended to formalize the practice according to which the referendum or initiative committee can draft a text or a set of arguments, which the Council of State then adopts in its explanatory message for the relevant cantonal vote. The Council of State can also - as federal law provides - reject or amend comments that contain defamatory expressions, manifestly inconsistent with the truth, are irrelevant or too long.

Finally, the preliminary draft shifts the deadline from which the counting office can carry out the partial counting of the postal vote or the vote by deposit with the municipality to the Thursday before the ballot box. During the partial count, the transmission envelopes are opened and the sender's voting rights are checked. The voting envelopes are then placed unopened in the appropriate urn.

The State Council took note of the preliminary draft without a substantive opinion and authorized the DSIS to carry out a consultation procedure. The consultation documents and the questionnaire for the statement can be found on the website of the canton of Valais: https://www.vs.ch/web/che/laufende-kantonale-vernehmendung. The opinions are until December 30, 2020 to submit.