New article in the journal Migration Studies analyses why migrants vote from abroad in elections in countries of origin, based on 80 interviews with Polish and Romanian migrants in Barcelona and Oslo. Whereas analyses of external voting patterns offer insights into the results of external voting compared to origin populations, there is a lacuna of knowledge about why migrants choose to vote, or not, when they have the right to do so.

This articleseeks to address this gap by building a framework rooted in both the electoral studies literature and on the growing body of knowledge on external voting within migration studies. We consider migrant voters’ desire, mobilization, and ability to vote, and map the locus of all factors—either in the country of residence, country of origin, or within transnational political space.

Our research generates three insights which challenge or nuance extant research on external voting. We show how migrants’ motivations to vote depend not only on residence and origin contexts but also on subjective factors and perceptions of the legitimacy of external voting. This article complements existing macrolevel studies of voting determinants with an in-depth qualitative microperspective and generates hypotheses that can be further tested in large-n as well as cross-regional comparisons.

The article is co-authored by Kacper Szulecki; Davide Bertelli; Marta Bivand Erdal; Anatolie Cosciug; Angelina Kussy & Gabriella Mikiewicz, and is an outcome of the Research Council of Norway funded project, DIASPOlitic: Understanding the Political Dynamics of Émigré Communitiesin an Era of European Democratic Backsliding, led by Kacper Szulecki, University of Oslo.

Read the article Open Access in Migration Studies, here.

For further insights from this research, you can read an insight piece in Routed magazine here: Migration and political (non-)participation in origin countries: Romanians and Poles in Oslo and Barcelona. A recent PRIO paper summarizes findings from the qualitative component of the research: Migrant Political Engagement and Voting from Abroad.