Transnational political engagement and emigrant voting

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Series Details Volume 26, Number 4, Pages 392-410
Publication Date December 2018
ISSN 1478-2804 (print) | 1478-2790 (online)
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Globalisation, European integration and increased migration have made life more mobile. Consequently, electorates have become increasingly dispersed geographically. Utilising survey data compiled from Finnish citizens residing abroad, we study transnational political participation of emigrant voters.

First, we examine how national identification relates with turnout in parliamentary elections and which factors influence emigrants’ voting decision. Second, we analyse how transnational political engagement of Finnish emigrants could be described.

The key findings suggest that identification with the sending country has little or no influence on the likelihood of voting in homeland parliamentary elections. Instead, distance to the closest polling station, interest in politics, time lived abroad, age and educational level significantly influence an emigrant’s probability of voting.

We suggest that ‘zero-sum relationship’ best describes transnational political engagement among Finnish emigrants: increased engagement in one country leads to decreased involvement in the other. This finding contributes significantly to knowledge of transnational political participation, a topic that has been rarely surveyed from emigrants’ perspectives.

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