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Swiss Village Holds First Internet Vote

More than 300 voters cast their ballot via the Internet; 48 went to the polls.

ANIERES, Switzerland -- A small Swiss lakeside village made history Sunday with the country's first legally binding Internet vote.

Authorities said 323 voters cast their ballot through the Internet, 370 by mail and just 48 went to the polls.

There was a 61.3 percent majority in favor of awarding a taxpayer-funded grant to renovate an expensive restaurant, officials said.

Under Switzerland's system of direct democracy, voters routinely cast their ballots on national questions such as asylum or abortion laws and local issues like funding for schools or new roads.

In Anieres, a wealthy suburb of Geneva, more than 90 percent of the 1,162-strong electorate traditionally votes by mail. Sunday's vote marked the first time they could vote online, through a special Geneva state Web site using a regular home computer.

Residents had to type in a series of security codes, their date and place of birth, then cast their vote on whether $3.1 million of taxpayer money should be spent to renovate a municipal property housing the restaurant.

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