Migrants’ intention to vote in two countries, one country, or neither

While most electoral behavior affects politics in just one political community, migrant voters may affect turnout rates in two: the countries of origin and residence. Considering this context, we evaluate individual-level intentions to vote in national elections, as an emigrant for origin-country elections and as an immigrant in the residence country. Examining South-South migrants, our dataset comprises 1,477 respondents from an online survey during Chile’s 2017 presidential election; 94.7% are from Latin American countries, meaning most also hold external voting rights. Chile automatically registers immigrants in the electorate for multilevel elections after a five-year residence; we find many respondents are ill-informed about this, but those who know they can vote show higher probabilities of being an immigrant voter (they vote only in the residence country) or a dual transnational voter (they vote in both countries). Being interested in politics also increases the decision to vote in not just one but two countries. Longer intention to stay increases immigrant and dual transnational voting, while decreases emigrant voting. We also find that high self-reported discrimination is conducive to participating only in origin-country elections.

Sebastián Umpierrez de Reguero and Vicki Finn, Migrants’ intention to vote in two countries, one country, or neither, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 2023.