Numerous provisions in our legislation also have a direct impact on our compatriots abroad and as a Swiss expatriate you have the possibility, since July 1, 1992, of voting from abroad by mail on federal matters. However, you are required to be duly registered at a Swiss representation.
If you are in Switzerland when voting or elections take place, you can also take part either by mail or personally by dropping your vote into the ballot-box in your polling commune. If you would also like to obtain your polling material yourself you can, on condition that you send a written application to your polling commune in good time (at least six weeks prior to the next vote or election).
As a Swiss national living abroad you are not only entitled to take part in elections to the National Council (active right to vote) but also to be elected to the National Council, the Federal Council and the Federal Tribunal (passive right to vote). On the other hand, you can only take part in the election of the States' Council if the cantonal law stipulates that Swiss living abroad have the right to vote by mail.
Several Cantons also offer the right of vote in cantonal matters to the Swiss abroad. These are: Bern, Basel-Land, Fribourg, Geneva, Grisons, Jura, Neuchâtel, Solothurn, Schwyz, Ticino (solely for the citizens with place of origin Ticino).
Notwithstanding the fact that canton Zurich does not grant the Swiss abroad the right to vote on cantonal matters, they may still take part in the election of the Council of States.
Moreover, the law entitles you to sign your commune's signature lists concerning federal initiatives and requests for referendums at the federal level. As their place of residence the Swiss abroad indicate their foreign address, specifying country and community.