Since 2003, a diverse coalition of political scientists, computer scientists, economists, historians, and other specialists largely affiliated with universities have developed and made broadly available an online voter information system in Switzerland called Smartvote. By taking user input and candidate data about positions on various political issues, Smartvote ranks and matches citizens with the politician that best matches their preferences. This case study gives an overview of Smartvote, examining the design, administration, and development of the system into the future. While this initial assessment suggests that Smartvote possesses huge opportunities to improve access to information among the electorate, promote participation in elections, and increase transparency on political positions, it also suggests that there are several salient risks. These include biases in the survey tool that collects information for Smartvote, the impact of a largely opaque system of administrating Smartvote, and insufficiently rich data in matching voters to candidates. The case study suggests various improvements to the system, and suggests that Smartvote ultimately plays a positive role in increasing information accessibility to citizens in the voting process.
Available at: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/sites/cyber.law.harvard.edu/files/Thurman-Gasser_SwissCases_Smartvote.pdf