Foreigner voting rights

Keystone / Anthony Anex

Voting at a national level is reserved for those with Swiss citizenship who are at least 18 years old, though some cantons allow foreigners to vote on local issues.

Most cantons in French-speaking Switzerland allow foreigners to cast ballots on local issues and some allow it on cantonal issues as well. German-speaking cantons are much more reserved in allowing foreigners the right to vote. In total, about a third of Switzerland’s 26 cantons offer some form of voting rights to non-Swiss residents.

In 2014, canton Jura voted to allow foreigners to hold government office at communal level after living for at least ten years in Switzerland.

But do foreigners want to vote? Research focusing on elections in one Swiss canton found that foreigners, even when eligible, tend to be less involved in civic life.

For Swiss abroad seeking to register to vote, visit the foreign affairs ministry for further information.


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