Journal of International Migration and Integration

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 133–151

Voting Rights for Non-citizens: Treasure or Fool’s Gold?


DOI: 10.1007/s12134-014-0331-y

Cite this article as:
Eisenberg, A. Int. Migration & Integration (2015) 16: 133. doi:10.1007/s12134-014-0331-y


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.


Voting rights Non-citizens Franchise Multinational states Democratic inclusion 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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