Extending Immigrant Non-Citizen Voting Rights in (Non)Democratic Regimes

Victoria Finn, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile and Leiden University

In this article, I examine the political incorporation process of immigrant (non-citizen) voting rights in three countries that offer universal non-citizen voting rights at the national level: Chile, Ecuador, and Uruguay. Each used a top-down approach to extend these suffrage rights, but in different decades—from the 1930s to 2000s—and under different regimes. Temporal to their authoritarianism experience, Uruguay, Chile, and Ecuador implemented non-citizen voting rights before, during, and after dictatorship, respectively.

The comparative historical analysis of political incorporation carries two main contributions. First, it provides new evidence regarding the reasons why states politically incorporate immigrants, which are absent in the literature (e.g., Bauböck 2005; Mollenkopf 2013). Second, I find that a democratic regime is not a necessary condition for extending or maintaining immigrant voting rights—however, it is necessary for exercising voting rights. Prima facie this continuity suggests path dependency for certain suffrage rights survival, regardless of political regime shifts. This expands the contemporary vision of the link between universal suffrage and liberal democracy.

About the speaker

Victoria Finn researches migrant electoral behavior, citizenship, and regional South American migration governance. She is attaining a dual-degree PhD in Political Science at the Universidad Diego Portales, Chile, and Humanities at Leiden University, the Netherlands. Additionally, she holds a Masters of Arts in International Affairs from The Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University.

Her latest publications include a 2018 book review of The National versus the Foreigner in South America: 200 Years of Migration and Citizenship Law (by Diego Acosta) in Ethnic and Racial Studies(doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2018.1555336) and “Migration Governance in South America: Regional Approaches versus National Laws” in A. Geddes, M. V. Espinoza, L. Hadj-Abdou, and L. Brumat (eds.) The Dynamics of Regional Migration Governance, forthcoming in 2019.

You can connect with Victoria via email: VickiJFinn@gmail.com, or through the academic networks: https://udp.academia.edu/VictoriaFinn or https://www.linkedin.com/in/victoriafinn/

Venue: TBC

Date: 01 May 2019

Time: 13:00 – 14:00