Voting Rights for Non-citizens: Treasure or Fool’s Gold?
- 553 Downloads
Proposals to extend the franchise to non-citizens have recently been defended on the basis of principles of democratic inclusion that challenge the sovereign authority of states to decide who may participate as a member in the democratic constituency. Here the requirement of extending the franchise to non-citizens is considered in the context of municipalities dominated by national minorities and in light of the claims of national minorities to self-rule. In these contexts, the settlement and enfranchisement of migrants sometimes dilute the strength and increase the costs of minority nationalist policies. The political dynamics created by extending voting rights to non-citizens where national minorities struggle for self-rule illuminate that moral arguments for extending voting rights to non-citizens can confuse two issues, the first being who has the right to participate in shaping the common projects of a democratic community and the second being whose interests should be considered in the course of decision making by that community. In these contexts, non-citizens have the right to have their interests considered and to have their rights taken seriously, but they may not have a strong claim to participate as voters in community decision making.
KeywordsVoting rights Non-citizens Franchise Multinational states Democratic inclusion
My thanks to Rainer Bauböck, Michael Blake, Colin Macleod, Sue Donaldson, Alex Gunn, Patti Lenard, David Owen, Lorenzo Piccoli, Ilenia Ruggiu and Christine Straehle for comments on this paper. My thanks also to the participants at the 2012 American Philosophical Association Meetings in Seattle and at the 2013 Canadian Political Science Association Meetings, especially Amy Reed-Sandoval and Shelley Wilcox, for their questions and comments.
- Alfred, G. (1999). Heeding the voices of our ancestors: Kahnawake Mohawk politics and the rise of native nationalism. Toronto: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Bauböck, R. (2005). Expansive citizenship: voting beyond territory and membership. PS: Political Science and Politics, 38(4), 683–687.Google Scholar
- Bauböck, R. (2007). Stakeholder citizenship and transnational political participation: a normative evaluation of external voting. Fordham Law Review, 75(5), 2393–2448.Google Scholar
- Bousetta, H. (2009). Multinational federalism and immigrant multiculturalism in Brussels. In R. Zapata Barrero (Ed.), Immigration and self-government of minority nations (pp. 87–102). Brussels: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- Buchanan, A. (1991). Secession: The morality of political divorce from Fort Sumter to Lithuania. Boulder: Westview.Google Scholar
- Carens, J.H. (2005). On belonging: what we owe to people who stay. Boston Review. Available from: http://www.bostonreview.net/BR30.3/carens.php.
- Castiñeira, À. (2009). Immigration in multinational states. The case of Catalonia. In R. Zapata Barrero (Ed.), Immigration and self-government of minority nations (pp. 163–176). Brussels: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- Colino, C. (2009). Constitutional change without constitutional reform: Spanish federalism and the revision of Catalonia’s statute of autonomy. Publius, 39(2), 262–288.Google Scholar
- Eisenberg, A., & Kymlicka, W. (2011). Bringing institutions back in. In A. Eisenberg & W. Kymlicka (Eds.), Identity politics in the public realm (pp. 1–30). Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
- Gagnon, A.-G. (2009). Immigration in a multinational context. From Laissez-faire to an institutional framework in Quebec. In R. Zapata Barrero (Ed.), Immigration and self-government of minority nations (pp. 39–56). Brussels: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- Garriga, J. (2006). Los partidos catalanes, divididos ante el derecho de voto de los inmigrantes. El Pais, 19 August. http://elpais.com/diario/2006/08/19/catalunya/1155949640_850215.html.
- Generalitat de Catalunya. (2009). Citizenship and immigration plan, 2009–2012. http://www20.gencat.cat/docs/dasc/03Ambits%20tematics/05Immigracio/03Politiquesplansactuacio/03placiutadania09_012/01Presentacio/pla_angles.pdf.
- Groenendijk, K. (2005). The legal integration of potential citizens: Denizens in the EU in the final years before the implementation of the 2003 Directive on long term resident third country nationals. In R. Baubock, E. Ersboll, K. Groenendijk, & H. Waldrauch (Eds.), Acquisition and loss of nationality: Policies and trends in 15 European states, Vol 1: comparative analysis (pp. 385–410). Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press.Google Scholar
- Jacobs, D. (2000). Giving foreigners the vote: Ethnocentrism in Dutch and Belgian political debates. In J. Ter Wal & M. Verkuyten (Eds.), Comparative perspectives on racism (pp. 117–138). Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
- Kleiner-Liebau, D. (2009). Migration and the construction of national identity in Spain. Madrid: Iberoamericana–Vervuert.Google Scholar
- Kymlicka, W. (1989). Liberalism, Community and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Labelle, M., & Rocher, F. (2009). Immigration, integration and citizenship policies in Canada and Quebec. Tug of war between competing societal projects. In R. Zapata Barrero (Ed.), Immigration and self-government of minority nations (pp. 57–86). Brussels: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- Lenard, P., & Munro, D. (2012). Extending the franchise to non-citizen residents in Canada and the United States: How bad is the democratic deficit? In P. Lenard & R. Simeon (Eds.), Imperfect democracies: Comparing the democratic deficit in Canada and the United States. Vancouver: UBC.Google Scholar
- Owen, D. (2011). Transnational citizenship and the democratic state. CRISPP, 14(5), 641–663.Google Scholar
- Pozuelo, A. (2010). Catalunya’s PP wants unemployed immigrants to leave. Spanish News, November 11, 2010. http://www.spanishnews.es/20101111-catalunyas-pp-wants-unemployed-immigrants-to-leave/id=3351/.
- Shapiro, I. (1999). Democratic justice. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Shapiro, I. (2003). The moral foundations of politics. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Siemiatycki, M. (2007). Invisible city: immigrants without voting rights in urban Ontario. Our Diverse Cities, 4(Fall), 166–168.Google Scholar
- Tremlett, G. (2010). Spanish party website drops game featuring candidate wiping out illegal immigrants. The Guardian (U.K.), November 17. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/17/peoples-party-catalonia-video.
- Zapata Barrero, R. (2009a). Building a public philosophy of immigration in Catalonia. The terms of the debate. In R. Zapata Barrero (Ed.), Immigration and self-government of minority nations (pp. 125–162). Brussels: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- Zapata Barrero, R. (2009b). Setting the research agenda on the interaction between cultural demands of immigrants and minority nations. In R. Zapata Barrero (Ed.), Immigration and self-government of minority nations (pp. 13–38). Brussels: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- Zapata Barrero, R. (2010b). Dynamics of diversity in Spain. In S. Vertovec & S. Wessendorf (Eds.), The multicultural backlash: European discourses, politics and practices (pp. 170–189). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Zapata Barrero, R., & Gropas, R. (2012). Active immigrants in multicultural contexts: Democratic challenges in Europe. In P. Triandafyllidou, T. Modood, & N. Meer (Eds.), European multiculturalisms: Cultural, religious and ethnic challenges (pp. 167–191). Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press.Google Scholar