Vote-Exchange - Towards transnational political participation in the EU
Despite the increasing mobility of people within the EU all 27 Member States hold on tight to
national concepts of citizenship. Concerning electoral rights for elections at national level
this leads to a paradox, in which about twelve million intra EU expatriates are discriminated on
grounds of their nationality. Thus, a growing part of the EU's population, and especially the one
symbolizing the European integration process with its transnational life, is excluded from the most
expressive form of political participation and the very essence of democracy, the possibility to vote
on national level in their host country.
The results are growing democracy and legitimacy deficits at national level as more and more people are affected by national policies without having a say in it. This shatters the sense and the rational of current electoral laws and prevailing 19th century construction of citizenship in all Member States. The degradation of EU-expatriates to semi-citizens compelled to national duties but lacking political rights leads to political frustration, hampers full political integration and recognition and, eventually, stands in severe conflict with the European idea of integration and identity construction.
Being aware of these effects of European integration Vote-Exchange is one of the first projects of Citizens For Europe e.V. (CFE) to be realised. To find out more about other activities of our association, please visit www.CitizensForEurope.org
What does Vote-Exchange do?
Vote-Exchange.org is a free web-based social
community, which allows EU citizens living in an EU Member State of which they are not a national, to
enter a transnational discourse about national political parties, programmes and candidates and,
eventually, a cross-border voting partnership. Vote-Exchange.org meets the growing desire for political
participation in the EU and empowers EU-citizens to exert their will to vote at national level in an
innovative way. The platform is an indispensable step towards the making of a Europe of citizens with
equal participation rights and overcomes the discrimination of more than 12 million citizens in the EU.
How does Vote-Exchange work?
Vote-Exchange is the political complement of labour mobility and the fundamental freedoms within the EU.
To understand how it works, consider the following example:
A French graphic designer living in Stockholm for seven years and being active in local political organisations has the desire to participate in Swedish parliamentary elections. Unfortunately, she is excluded from expressing her political will, as she only holds the French passport.
Similarly, a Swedish expatriate living in Paris with his family for quite some time wants a political change on national level. But being Swedish, is equally excluded from national elections.
On Vote-Exchange.org both expatriates come together and debate their views on different party programmes and candidates, also with other community members. By providing each member of the community with information about political developments in her host country Vote-Exchange.org encourages expatriates to learn more about their host polity.
As soon as the Swedish and French expatriate have come to common understandings they decide to enter a voting partnership. Now both expatriates take into account the voting partner's preferences when voting at the next national elections in their country of origin. Hence, the Swede votes for the French in Sweden and vice-versa. This way, both individuals have indirectly and successfully expressed their political will in their country of residence.
How does Vote Exchange Work? A description in detail:
To use this free political web tool you register with a nickname, your e-mail address, your country
of residence and your nationality. The more information you share later in your profile (full name,
postal and email address, languages spoken, age, political orientation, etc.) the easier it will
be to find a voting partner. Additionally, one may complete the profile with personal details such
as company or institutional affiliation for the purpose of networking on this community platform.
Via an user-friendly interface everyone can search for a potential voting partner according to nationality and country of prime residence. Additional filters are languages spoken, political orientation and others. Another way of finding a voting partner is to set up a discussion in the forum by using the information Vote-Exchange.org provides you on parties and political issues in your host country.
When a partner is found, one can see whether or not he or she is already in a voting partnership. A registered person can then send a message through the internal message system to the potential partner via a contact form expressing the interest in a voting partnership.
The addressee of a message can view the profile of the sender and either reject the request or get in private contact with that person.
When two users agreed to set up a voting partnership, they enter a detailed discussion in which they talk about their personal aims and the structure of the relationship.
This process shall ensure, that a user can only establish a voting partnership once at a time, unless the partnership has been cancelled by one of the partners.
Throughout the whole process one can start discussions on Vote-Exchange.org or share views on other platforms such as facebook or twitter.