Only five countries have extended universal voting rights to non-citizen residents for all political spheres (local, intermediate and national): Uruguay in 1934, New Zealand in 1975, Chile in 1980, Malawi in 1994, and Ecuador in 2008. These cases constitute a unique intercontinental medley and an opportunity to study the conditions behind such revolutionary change. Through a calibrated comparative strategy based on most similar system designs (inspired by Mill’s method of difference) using QCA, this paper finds that the extension of national voting rights to non-citizen residents transpired in two distinct scenarios. The first setting (Chile, New Zealand, and Uruguay) took place within unitary states with already-existing local voting rights for non-citizen residents and settler trajectories, but that were not undergoing a liberalisation process. On the other hand, the second configuration (Ecuador and Malawi) developed within unitary states that recognised nationality by ius soli and were going through a process of liberalisation, but without previous local voting rights for non-citizen residents or a settler trajectory. To our best knowledge, this paper offers the first cross-national explanation that involves all cases that have broadened their respective political communities (demoi) to include national voting rights to all non-citizen residents.
David Altman, Sergio Huertas-Hernández, and Clemente T. Sánchez, “Two paths towards the exceptional extension of national voting rights to non-citizen residents“, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2023.