Do Voting Advice Applications Have an Effect on Electoral Participation and Voter Turnout? Evidence from the 2007 Swiss Federal Elections

  • Andreas Ladner
  • Joëlle Pianzola
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6229)


Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) render a valuable platform for tackling one of democracy’s central challenges: low voter turnout. Studies indicate that lack of information and cost-benefit considerations cause voters to abstain from voting. VAAs are online voting assistance tools which match own political preferences with those of candidates and parties in elections. By assisting voters in their decision-making process prior to casting their votes, VAAs not only rebut rational choice reasoning against voting but also narrow existing information gaps. In this paper we examine the impact of VAAs on participation and voter turnout. Specifically, we present results on how the Swiss VAA smartvote affected voter turnout in the 2007 federal elections. Our analyses suggest that smartvote does have a mobilizing capacity, especially among young voters who are usually underrepresented at polls. Moreover, the study demonstrates how VAAs such as smartvote do affect citizen’s propensity to deal with politics in general.


e-democracy voter turnout electoral participation Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Ladner
    • 1
  • Joëlle Pianzola
    • 1
  1. 1.Institutional Policies, IDHEAP LausanneChavannes-près-Renens

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