E-Democracy in Switzerland

Practice and Perspectives

By Urs Gasser, James M. Thurman, Richard Stäuber, Jan Gerlach

Electronic democracy is a relatively new subject of study. However, with the globalization of Internet use, the deployment of information and communication technology to improve democracy has rapidly gained worldwide attention. The authors of this book explore the practice of e-democracy in Switzerland, using three examples that roughly map three stages of the democratic process: 1) the pre-voting stage of Smartvote, a candidate-voter matching system; 2) the voting stage itself on the implementation of electronic voting (e-voting); and 3) the post-voting phase on the use of blogs by Moritz Leuenberger and Christoph Blocher, a current and a former member of the Swiss government, respectively. The authors describe and assess the implications of these uses of the Internet on democratic processes in Switzerland. They conclude that developing the tools discussed would hold opportunities for Swiss democracy, as they contribute to central principles of the democratic process, namely voter participation and citizen awareness. This report is a contribution by the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) to a series of related studies from various countries around the world, produced by the Internet & Democracy Project at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, which investigates the impact of the Internet on civic engagement and democratic processes.

142 pages

Publication Date: 10/1/2010
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9783037512463