chapter  2
41 Pages

Voter turnout among immigrants and visible minorities in comparative perspective

To what extent do immigrants and visible minorities participate in the electoral process? The question is crucial to the legitimacy of representative democracies. This chapter surveys research pertaining to voter turnout in 11 liberal democracies. Contributors compare voter turnout among immigrants and minorities to turnout in the majority population, reporting on available data from national, regional and local elections in their respective countries. They discuss the dominant explanations for differences between migrant/minority and non-minority turnout. Subject to data availability, they also discuss turnout differences across migrant/minority groups, assessing the role of factors such as ethnic or national origin, citizenship status, length of settlement in the country of immigration, and socio-­demographic­characteristics.­Furthermore,­each­country’s­specific­political­ opportunity structure for participation is discussed, in which the role of parties as a screening and selection agent deserves most attention. As a whole, the chapter­ takes­stock­of­existing­scholarship­in­ this­field,­and­identifies­gaps­and­ problems, as well as the progress scholars have made.