smartvote is a voting advice application (VAA) for citizens in the forefront of elections. In Switzerland Politools Network (developer, owner and provider of smartvote) offers these services since 2003 and on the basis of project cooperations partly also in foreign countries (Bulgaria 2005, Scotland 2007).
On the basis of a standardised questionnaire of 30–70 questions about values, attitudes and political issues smartvote develops a political profile of interested voters. That profile will subsequently be compared with the ones of the candidates running for office in that election. That at the end a voter receives a list of candidates or party lists with the most similar political preferences and attitudes. For calculating the match values statistical methods are used as for example multidimensional scaling.
At the occasion of the parliament elections 2003 in Switzerland VAAs has been offered to the public, especially smartvote, for the first time. At that time the offer was restricted to national parliament elections but in the meantime smartvote has been offered for many cantonal (state) and also local city elections. At the beginning the member of parliaments were sceptical vis-à-vis the VAA but today more than 80% of the candidates normally participate. With the national parliament elections 2007 smartvote became the most important reference for political positioning of politicians and candidates in the Swiss public.
The development is supported by a public research institution, namely the project of the National Center of Competence in Research: Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century (NCCR Democracy) of the University of Zurich.
2005 Politools was a consultant in the development of a Bulgarian VAA koimipasva. In 2007 Politools contributed a part of their system to a Scottish VAA Holyrood2007  and further spreads of the tool are foreseen, even if the necessary financial resources are not yet secured completely. Since 2008 Politools co-develops a VAA for the European Parliament Elections of June 2009 - the so-called EU Profiler  in a consortium constisting of the European University Institute in Florence and the Dutch company Kieskompas.
smartvote was a joint project of the University of Bern and the Gewerblich-Industriellen Berufsschule Bern at the beginning with the aim to advocate more transparent and independent Information in election campaigns in favour of the citizens.
Today smartvote is part of Politools Network, more exactly of Politools – Political Research Network that is a political independent association in the sense of art. 60ff. Civil Code with domicile in Bern.
- see project website at NCCR Democracy 21
- See koimipasva.bg
- see project site of Holyrood2007
- Ladner, Andreas und Jan Fivaz, 2006. „Die Demokratie und das Internet - Online-Wahlhilfen als Vorläufer der E-Demokratie.“ Neue Zürcher Zeitung vom 24. Juli 2006, Nr. 169, S. 9. Online publiziert auf der Website der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Verwaltungswissenschaften.
- Leuthold Heinrich, Michael Hermann, Sara Irina Fabrikant, 2007. „Making the political landscape visible: mapping and analyzing voting patterns in an ideological space.“ Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 34(5): 785 – 807.
- Rouiller, Sébastien, Jan Fivaz, Daniel Schwarz und Albert Waaijenberg, 2004. Der Einsatz der Online-Wahlhilfe smartvote bei den kantonalen Wahlen im Thurgau (März 2004). Schlussbericht. Bern: politools.
- Trechsel, Alexander H., 2007. „Inclusiveness of old and new forms of citizens' electoral participation.“ Representation, 43(2):111 - 121.