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

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.

Project Number IP 16 (Phase II) E-voting: Smart-voting 2.0
Author(s) Ladner, Andreas and Joëlle Pianzola
Editor(s) Efthimios Tambouris, Anne Macintosh and Olivier Glassey
Series/Publication Electronic Participation
Publisher Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer
Year 2010
Pages 211-224
URL http://www.springer.com/computer/information+systems+and+applications/book/978-3-642-15157-6
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