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Voting and electoral rights

Swiss citizens living abroad have the right to participate cantonal and federal votes and elections. They can launch popular initiatives, vote in federal popular votes, and vote and stand for election in National Council elections (Council of States elections are organised by the cantons).

A man casts his ballot.
Participation in elections and popular votes is also possible for the Swiss abroad. (© Pexels)

Swiss citizens living abroad can exercise their political rights if they:

  • have officially emigrated to another country
  • are at least 18 years old and
  • are registered with a Swiss representation.

They can vote on federal issues and participate in National Council elections without having to travel to Switzerland.  

Participation in cantonal votes and elections is regulated in the legislation of each canton and is possible in the following cantons:

Map of Switzerland indicating in green those cantons that permit Swiss citizens living abroad to participate in their votes and elections: Geneva, Neuchâtel, Fribourg, Bern, Jura, Solothurn, Basel Land, Schwyz, Graubünden, Ticino. The cantons in yellow (Zurich and Basel Stadt) only permit Swiss citizens living abroad to participate in elections to their upper chamber.
Participation of Swiss citizens living abroad in the cantonal votes and elections depends on the canton (full participation: green; participation in upper chamber elections only: yellow). (© FDFA Info)

If you meet the requirements cited above, register with your local Swiss representation by post, in person or by completing the following form:

Application to exercise political rights (PDF, 4 Pages, 421.7 kB, multilingual: German, French, Italian, English)

Please enquire at your communal authority about the possibility of Swiss citizens living abroad participating in cantonal votes and elections.

Further information on the political system, current and upcoming votes is available at: ch.ch:

www.ch.ch

Last update 04.05.2022

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