Internet Voting for Expatriates: The Swiss Case

Micha Germann, Uwe Serdült

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (SciVal)


In 2008 the first Swiss canton introduced internet voting for expatriates, complementing the trials involving residents initiated back in 2003. More cantons soon followed, and as of this writing, expatriates from 12 out of the 26 cantons can vote online. This paper focuses on the second phase in the Swiss i-voting roll-out involving expatriates. We address three questions at the core of the internet voting research agenda. First, the popularity question: to what extent do expatriates make use of the new online voting channel? Second, the ‘who’ question: what is the profile of the typical expatriate i-voter? Finally, the turnout question: did the extension of internet voting to expatriates have an effect on electoral mobilisation? Our findings indicate that the online channel is very popular among expatriates, both when compared to other trials in Switzerland and internationally. Leaving aside i-voting’s comparatively high popularity, familiar patterns seem to replicate in the expatriate trials. Expatriate i-voters tend to be young, male, and there is some evidence of an upper-class bias. Thus, use of the online channel by expatriates seems also driven by the digital divide. Finally, similarly to the residents’ trials, we find some evidence that i-voting does not affect electoral mobilisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-215
Number of pages19
JournalJeDEM - eJournal of eDemocracy and Open Government
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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