Non-citizen voting rights and political participation of citizens: evidence from Switzerland
In this article, Meier & Nadler suggest that while non-citizen enfranchisement boosts participation across all citizens, citizens with immigration backgrounds are more reactive to the NCV rights in terms of higher turnout. In this way, the paper adds a critical nuance to individual-based explanations when making sense of why voters with immigration backgrounds participate less in formal electoral processes in host societies.
- Elif Naz Kayran Meier & Anna-Lena Nadler
- 11 February 2022
- Non-citizen voting rights and political participation of citizens: evidence from Switzerland
Can non-citizen enfranchisement policies reduce the turnout gap between citizens with an immigration background and native citizen voters? While increasingly common in practice, there are only a handful of studies on the political consequences of non-citizen enfranchisement on voter mobilisation. Here, Meier and Nadler examine the impact of non-citizen voting (NCV) rights on the political participation of citizens with and without an immigration background. Focusing on Switzerland, they use high-quality household panel data (SHP) from 1999 to 2014, leveraging both longitudinal and municipal level variation of enfranchisement laws when identifying their effect on turnout. Meier and Nadler show that NCV rights boost political participation overall, and it particularly enhances turnout among citizens with an immigration background. Their analysis adds to existing theoretical explanations and empirical debates on representation and political participation in diverse democratic societies with large immigrant populations.