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Old 01.09.2011, 20:04
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How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

I'm curious. As non-citizens, how engaged can B and C permit holders be in Swiss politics? It seems if we're paying taxes we should have quite a bit of say in what goes on. But we certainly can't vote. Surely still, we should be able to do SOMETHING. Right?
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Old 01.09.2011, 20:13
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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I'm curious. As non-citizens, how engaged can B and C permit holders be in Swiss politics? It seems if we're paying taxes we should have quite a bit of say in what goes on. But we certainly can't vote. Surely still, we should be able to do SOMETHING. Right?
In Neuchâtel, C permit holders who have been in the canton for 5 years can vote in elections and referendums up to Cantonal level, we are only excluded from federal votes. We cannot stand for election though.
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Old 01.09.2011, 20:16
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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I'm curious. As non-citizens, how engaged can B and C permit holders be in Swiss politics? It seems if we're paying taxes we should have quite a bit of say in what goes on. But we certainly can't vote. Surely still, we should be able to do SOMETHING. Right?
Do you own a Sharpie pen?
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Old 01.09.2011, 20:21
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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Do you own a Sharpie pen?
Is that for defacing posters with?
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Old 01.09.2011, 20:22
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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Is that for defacing posters with?
Or making your own.
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Old 01.09.2011, 21:31
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

I'll admit to having considered forming an Immigrant Party here in ZH, to counter some of the otherwise-left-unchallenged SVP propaganda. I'm willing to bet that the average non-Swiss resident of ZH pays as much in tax as the average Swiss resident (possibly even more given the way Quellensteuer works) but gets far less in return and has no say in Switzerland's vaunted direct democracy.

Not, of course, that I believe it's unfair to pay for services you don't use as that's pretty much what progressive taxation is *about*, but the incessant attempts to promote a popular view that foreigners are just about the grabbing-for-the-big-piles-of-francs-and-passports rather mirror the kind of odious anti-immigrant sentiment the UK is plagued with at the moment, and I wish people were more forthright in challenging it constructively.
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Old 01.09.2011, 22:13
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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In Neuchâtel, C permit holders who have been in the canton for 5 years can vote in elections and referendums up to Cantonal level, we are only excluded from federal votes. We cannot stand for election though.
Just rioting on 1st May I think.
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Old 01.09.2011, 22:30
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

We had this discussion before in the local ZH referendum thread a few months ago. The points brought up included asking which other countries give foreigners the right to vote? This is not a Swiss issue as such, it's international, regardless of whether you pay taxes or not. The simple solution is to get Swiss citizenship if that's what you want and are willing to go through the naturalization process.
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Old 01.09.2011, 22:32
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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The points brought up included asking which other countries give foreigners the right to vote?
The answer to which, if I recall correctly, was quite a lot of other countries.
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Old 01.09.2011, 22:32
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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I'm curious. As non-citizens, how engaged can B and C permit holders be in Swiss politics? It seems if we're paying taxes we should have quite a bit of say in what goes on. But we certainly can't vote. Surely still, we should be able to do SOMETHING. Right?
Ummm, NOOOO!

Do foreigners in the US have voting rights (even if they are legal)?

Tom
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Old 01.09.2011, 22:37
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

I think it's logical that only Swiss nationals should be allowed to vote in Swiss national (i.e. federal) elections.

On a local level though, once you have proved that you are a reasonably permanent member of the community (by living there and paying your taxes there for x years), I think you should have a say in local issues by being allowed to vote.

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Just rioting on 1st May I think.
1st March is revolution day here. We all get a day off work and walk from La Chaux-de-Fonds to Neuchâtel in the rain to commemorate it. Not that I have ever actually joined in...
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Old 01.09.2011, 23:05
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

It's interesting how "political activity" immediately gets converted into "I want the right to vote", although given that I know the usual requirements for Swiss naturalisation it's a very.. Swiss response to say the "simple" solution to being unable to vote is to become a Swiss national!

In most countries citizenship isn't a requirement to, say, hand out flyers on the street even if the flyer-hander-outer doesn't actually have the right to vote, but one of the things I've noticed as a mere 3-year newbie to Switzerland is how foreigners are often actively discouraged from taking any interest in Swiss politics - there's a very "mind your own business, Auslander" thing in the air.

Understanding a country's politics is part of understanding a country, and understanding a country is part of integrating into that country. This is of course doubly entertaining given that many of the people most vociferously opposed to foreigners taking any interest in Swiss politics are also going to be complaining about how foreigners "refuse" to integrate!

I can partly see where it's coming from. As a country with such a strong tradition of neutrality and resistance to outside interference, it's not surprising that Switzerland has such a collective suspicion of foreigners taking a direct interest in how the country's being run.

Ironically, the federal government itself does a great job in helping foreigners understand the country - the 90-page booklet the federal government gives out for free on the Swiss political system is excellent, and every expat should read it:

http://www.bk.admin.ch/dokumentation...x.html?lang=en
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Old 01.09.2011, 23:12
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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The points brought up included asking which other countries give foreigners the right to vote?
One of the issues here in my opinion is that it conravenes the one man/woman one vote principle. If you are a dual citizen or otherwise have the right to vote in different countries then that potentially erodes the principle of equality.
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Old 01.09.2011, 23:25
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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One of the issues here in my opinion is that it conravenes the one man/woman one vote principle. If you are a dual citizen or otherwise have the right to vote in different countries then that potentially erodes the principle of equality.
Depends. Many countries require residency as well as citizenship to vote, particularly in local elections. Until not too long ago UK citizens weren't allowed to vote if they weren't resident in the UK and the right to vote as an expat is still time-limited today. Under rules such as that people end up disenfranchised everywhere, which seem to be a worse sin than being enfranchised in more than one place.

In fact, as a non-resident British citizen I'm entitled to vote in Parliamentary and European elections but not local elections. As most countries which extend any franchise whatsoever to resident non-citizens only do so for local or regional elections, the two concepts dovetail nicely and together seem to enhance the principle of equality you mention rather than erode it.
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Old 02.09.2011, 10:36
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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I'm curious. As non-citizens, how engaged can B and C permit holders be in Swiss politics? It seems if we're paying taxes we should have quite a bit of say in what goes on. But we certainly can't vote. Surely still, we should be able to do SOMETHING. Right?
Depends on what Canton you live in. Some Cantons allow voting, being elected, and signing referendums at the local level for foreigners (meeting certain qualifications, typcially 10 years in CH, irrespective of type of permit). See here for more details--
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_o...te#Switzerland

Otherwise, at the Canton and Federal level there is no rights for foreigners to vote, sign referendums, stand for office, etc. However, Vaud has lauched this initiive to give foreigners this right at the Canton level, this will be voted on 4 September, and if it passes, will be the first in CH giving rights at Canton level.

Elsewhere, there is Baloti, a portal giving foreigners who do not have the right to vote, to give their opinion on various swiss political issues. Like unoffical voting, lets them have their views but does not count. http://www.baloti.ch/?lang=en
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Old 02.09.2011, 11:29
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

In my opinion one vote more or less is not going to swing any referendum anyway. I've lived here long enough now to actually be able to naturalise, but really, I can't be arsed. So much bother for just one vote.

But apart from that I do believe I influence things in a small way. I discuss politics with people around me and whereas I can see that I have been influenced by others I can also see that I have influenced others. Their opnions on certain matters have shifted from where they were when we first met. Every little step counts, right?

I have also donated money for referenda over causes that I felt particularly strongly about.

So yes, I believe I can change things and I do.
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Old 02.09.2011, 11:32
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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Ummm, NOOOO!

Do foreigners in the US have voting rights (even if they are legal)?

Tom
I don't agree. As a foreigner, if your language is good enough, you can do pretty much anything on the political landscape, with the exception of voting (although you can in some cases) and actually being elected.

But... you could give speeches, canvas other voters, take part in leafleting campaigns, support your preferred party with whatever Manpower they need, take part in their internal activities etc. etc. So while you may not actually vote, your opinion could count towards influencing other voters.
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Old 02.09.2011, 11:41
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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But... you could give speeches, canvas other voters, take part in leafleting campaigns, support your preferred party with whatever Manpower they need, take part in their internal activities etc. etc. So while you may not actually vote, your opinion could count towards influencing other voters.
The idea of an Auslander campaigning for the SVP party makes me smile.
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Old 02.09.2011, 12:12
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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We had this discussion before in the local ZH referendum thread a few months ago. The points brought up included asking which other countries give foreigners the right to vote? This is not a Swiss issue as such, it's international, regardless of whether you pay taxes or not. The simple solution is to get Swiss citizenship if that's what you want and are willing to go through the naturalization process.
First, thanks to everyone for their feedback and glad to see that there is some interest in the topic. But as others pointed out, the question wasn't about voting rights. It was about political engagement. Even if a non-Swiss wanted to get involved with the SVP platform, would they be permitted? What kind of activities could an immigrant engage in? Canvassing? petitioning? And I guess petitions is a big one... can non-citizen immigrants sign petitions and be counted?

P.S. We can spend all day talking about how non-citizen immigrants' political activities are regulated in other countries, but I didn't start the thread to talk about other countries or be told it's ridiculous to bring it up because it's not allowed in the US. The question pertains to Switzerland. I know we have trouble staying on topic sometimes (myself included) but please let's not stray.
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Old 02.09.2011, 12:41
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Re: How Much Political Activity Can a B/C non-Citizen Engage in?

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can non-citizen immigrants sign petitions and be counted?
No. And they do check this, going through the names to make sure they are valid.

For other activities, like petitioning, etc. I think you would have to check with the various political parties you are interested in, and see how much they would allow a foreigner to do as well. For example, the statues of the Vaud UDC allow "citizens" to become member affiliates. The presumably excludes foreigners, or non-citizens. Other parties may have more lenient or more strigent statues.
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