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Who has the right to vote?

Swiss citizens aged 18 and over – including Swiss citizens abroad – are entitled to vote at federal level. Some cantons and communes also grant the right to vote at cantonal and communal level to Swiss citizens abroad, and in certain cases to non-Swiss citizens. Here you can find full information about voting rights in Switzerland. It also applies to the federal parliamentary election of 20 October 2019.

Voting rights

If you have Swiss citizenship, are at least 18 years of age, live in Switzerland, and are not subject to guardianship due to long-term lack of capacity of judgement (and you are not represented by a proxy designated to act on your behalf for this reason), you can vote at federal, cantonal and communal level and also launch and sign referendums and initiatives.

Voting for the first time

You do not need to register the first time you vote in a federal vote or election: you will be added to the electoral register of your commune of residence as a matter of course as soon as you fulfil the conditions for being eligible to vote.

Voting rights of Swiss citizens abroad

If you are a Swiss citizen abroad, you can vote at federal level (e.g. in National Council elections). However, you must be registered with your Swiss representation abroad. You must also be registered on the electoral roll of your last commune of residence in Switzerland or, if you have never lived in Switzerland, in your place of origin

Voting rights of Swiss citizens abroad: information and forms
Swiss representations abroad

In some cantons, Swiss citizens abroad can also vote at communal and cantonal level, e.g. in Council of States elections (one of the two chambers of parliament, whichs represent the cantons). For information on the voting rights of Swiss citizens abroad at cantonal and communal level, please contact the authority responsible in your canton.

Detailed information on the political rights of Swiss citizens abroad at cantonal and communal level

Swiss citizens abroad and the 2019 Council of States election

If you are a Swiss citizen abroad, you can find detailed information for each canton on voting in the next Council of States election on 20 October 2019 by clicking the map below.

Karte der Schweizer Kantone

Voting rights of dual nationals

Dual nationality does not affect your voting rights in elections and popular votes. Dual nationals can vote and participate in elections, unless other reasons prevent them from doing so.

Voting rights of minors in the canton of Glarus

Although you have to be 18 or older to vote at federal level, each canton is free to give minors voting rights at cantonal level. Currently Glarus is the only canton to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote on cantonal and communal issues. Citizens of Glarus cannot, however, run for government office until they are 18 or older.

Voting rights of non-Swiss citizens

Foreign nationals do not have the right to vote at federal level. However, in some cantons, they do have the right to vote in cantonal and communal ballots.

Political rights of non-Swiss citizens in Switzerland at cantonal and communal level (Federal Statistical Office)
Political rights of non-Swiss citizens in the Canton of Neuchâtel
Political rights of non-Swiss citizens in the Canton of Jura