Chapter 19: Citizenship, migration and voting behavior
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The right to vote belongs to the fundamental rights of citizenship. This Chapter reviews this literature on immigrant voters and summarizes the different theories of the electoral behavior of people with migration background. Beyond that, the Chapter provides original data on immigrants’ vote intentions in Germany and provides the first comparative analysis on the success of immigrant parties. The Chapter provides three main insights. First, the relationship between migration background and vote choice cannot be explained with social stratification and the status as a migrant as such. Second, much more important for vote choice is political socialization related to the country of origin and whether a voter belongs to an ‘outgroup’ due to her specific migration background. Third, immigrant parties such as DENK in the Netherlands are only a viable choice for people with migration background that do belong to such an outgroup and only if the electoral system is highly proportional.

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