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PhD defence

Migrant Rights, Voting, and Resocialization: Suffrage in Chile and Ecuador, 1925-2020

Thursday 16 September 2021
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


Emigrants can vote from abroad for about 120 territories and immigrants can vote in about 50 countries. Many international migrants can vote or abstain in both the origin and residence countries, making four distinct types of migrant electoral behavior: immigrant, emigrant, and dual transnational voting, as well as abstention. Migrant political participation affects democratic decision-making and electoral outcomes in two polities, reasons for which both migrant enfranchisement and migrant voting merit scholarly research. My goal is to unpack why migrants decide to vote or abstain in either the origin or residence country, in both, or in neither. 

To collect data on migrant voters, I conducted surveys and interviews in Chile and Ecuador because they are likely cases in which to find individuals with dual transnational voting rights in national-level elections. I argue that political resocialization helps to explain individual-level migrant voter turnout. I posit resources combined with ties to people or places in one or both countries might constitute a necessary condition and resources with a motive to vote might be conceived as a sufficient condition for migrant voting. Rather than a trade-off of replacement, over time migrants change their positioning and motives to vote in one country or both countries. 

My analyses align with work emphasizing the simultaneity of dual engagement in the origin and residence countries. Moreover, the case studies shed light on the legal and normative origins of migrant enfranchisement over the last century, differences among migrant voting variants, and how political (re)socialization processes help explain why migrants vote and change voting behavior over time. 


I recognize research grants from the Centro de Estudios de Conflicto y Cohesión Social (COES), Núcleo Milenio de Desafíos a la Representación, the Dora Plus scholarship with the European Regional Development Fund, and Universidad Diego Portales for the fully funded dual PhD program. I also recognize conference grants from the American Political Science Association, Migration Policy Centre at the EUI, Latin American Studies Association, and Institute for Humane Studies. Universidad Casa Grande supported my work in Ecuador and FONDECYT 1161262 and FONDECYT 1190072 in Chile.


  • Prof. P. Silva

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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