Patterns of extraterritorial voting. Working paper T22 of the Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty

Michael Collyer, Zana Vathi

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

The relationship with the state changes when citizens leave the territory of their home state. They interact with state institutions very differently and they are likely to lose certain benefits, particularly if their absence is prolonged. Yet the rights of migrants who make their permanent home outside the boundaries of the origin state are continually under review. Where states see an interest in maintaining contact with emigrant populations a whole range of citizenship rights can be extended to them. Forms of extra-territorial citizenship have become increasingly common in recent years, facilitated by improved communications and transportation technologies and motivated by the growing awareness of the financial power of emigrants. Examples of social and cultural extension programmes involving religious provision or language training are widespread, particularly for states with significant emigrant populations. Economic policies to extract the maximum benefit from migrant remittances are continually being developed and tax incentives to encourage financial transfers are increasingly common. Extending the right of political participation to non-resident citizens, in the form of voting, or even standing for elections as a candidate, are perhaps the most controversial of extraterritorial citizenship measures. This paper reports on a global survey of emigrant voting. It provides evidence that, despite the political philosophical arguments for or against the practice which continue, expatriate voting has a long history, exists in various forms and is becoming more common.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBrighton
PublisherDevelopment Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

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