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Immigrants, voting, and electoral participation

Migration A–Z


  1. Elisabeth Gidengil

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm283

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Gidengil, E. 2013. Immigrants, voting, and electoral participation. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


Voter turnout is a key indicator of immigrants's successful political incorporation. Political incorporation is “the process of becoming a part of mainstream political debates, practices and decision-making … incorporation is generally achieved when patterns of immigrant participation are comparable to those among the native born” (Bloemraad 2006: 6). Voting is the most basic way that citizens have of giving political voice. As such, turning out to vote could almost be considered a necessary characteristic of political incorporation. Voter turnout has been likened to the canary that coal miners used to take down into the pit to warn the miners of impending danger (Putnam 2000: 35). If immigrants are voting at lower rates than their native-born counterparts, the host societies need to understand why. This essay focuses primarily on Europe and North American immigrant voting and electoral participation.


  • assimilation and exclusion;
  • cultural diversity;
  • equality;
  • citizenship;
  • ideology;
  • transnationalism