What we see as a problem
Although the Swiss democracy has two direct democratic instruments, the initiative and the referendum, it is mainly a representative democracy: Every 4 years the electorate elects its representatives to the National Council and the Council of States. In the following legislative period, they deal with hundreds of issues and make thousands of individual decisions. Only a small fraction of these are submitted to the people for a vote.
In short, the lion’s share of legislation is the responsibility of parliament.
The detailed voting behavior of the individual parliamentarians can be viewed at any time on Curia Vista and the corresponding raw data is also published by the parliamentary services. However, it is difficult for laypersons to classify the huge amount of data in terms of content and to relate the individual votes to one another. So far, there is no public platform that allows citizens to get an informed picture of the real workings of the Council.
How we solve it
VoteLog focuses on the expertise of civil society.
In Switzerland, there are hundreds of civil society organizations and associations that expertly and closely follow and influence political events. They participate in consultations, publish statements, do lobbying work or, if necessary, take a referendum. They therefore have a clear idea of the legislative target state and not infrequently a clear position towards specific parliamentary decisions.
VoteLog makes these positions available to the public on a common platform where civil society organizations can uniformly evaluate individual parliamentary votes. Based on this, everyone is offered the possibility to track, compare and (in the future) also combine these evaluations in an arbitrarily aggregated and visually prepared form.
What makes us different
In contrast to existing voting tools like smartvote, VoteLog is not based on a self-assessment of parliamentarians, but on their actual voting decisions. Our platform is therefore based on the real actions of parliamentarians - the hard data - and not on non-binding election promises.
Who we address
VoteLog is primarily aimed at citizens and those interested in politics, as well as non-profit associations, civil society interest groups and non-governmental organizations.
The core of VoteLog is a freely accessible open-source web platform whose output is available as open data to researchers and journalists in particular, making it easier for them to sustainably analyze, question and further contextualize the representative part of Swiss democracy.
What we want to achieve
With this publicly accessible platform, VoteLog creates a level playing field for civil society organizations, especially for smaller organizations that cannot afford to purchase expensive policy analysis. VoteLog thus strengthens civil society while increasing political transparency and accountability of democratically elected representatives.
Where we position ourselves
As platform operators, we remain politically and ideologically neutral and do not carry out parliamentary evaluations ourselves. Instead, we provide a low-threshold infrastructure that allows everyone to create such assessments - non-governmental organizations and non-profit associations as well as professional and business associations with political goals.
We reflect the diversity of opinions by presenting the views and interests of a wide range of actors in a uniform and thus comparable way. As a non-profit platform, we have a responsibility to all members of society. Equal access for all democratic actors applies, which distinguishes VoteLog from existing parliamentary monitoring tools.