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Should foreign residents be eligible to vote? Show more Show less
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People are become increasingly globally mobile, with foreign nationals accounting for ever higher population percentages in most nations on Earth. Should they be allowed to vote?

Passive elegibility should be guaranteed Show more Show less

An alien resident should not only have the right to vote but also to be elected
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Passive eligibility ensures representativity of minorities

By allowing non-residents the right to run as an electoral candidate, there will be further representation of minorities in the political system, as many alien residents represent marginalised groups.
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The Argument

The exclusion of foreign residents from being able to vote, and from being elected, has serious consequences. Although they are not homogenous, immigrants as a group tend to score low on social indicators of wellbeing, such as income, hunger, education and poverty. These results are due, in part, to the limited role they play in the political scene. Politicians can enact discriminatory public policy in educaton, housing, health care, criminal justice, employment and welfare - and run xenophobic campaigns, secure in the knowledge that a non-resident candidate isn’t their political rival, who could hold them to a higher level of accountability for their actions.[1] Historically, having electoral candidates who represent marginalised groups, and allowing people from these targeted groups to vote, has been an essential tool for disempowered groups to achieve economic, social and civil rights. Allowing noncitizen electoral candidates to run would also enhance the visibility and voices of immigrants, making the government more accountable, responsive and representative. Therefore, foreign residents should have the right to vote and run for political positions because they can provide further representation for the minority groups they typically represent, and therefore, passive eligibility should be guaranteed for this to be possible.

Counter arguments

Citizenship is sacred, and allowing those who aren’t citizens to run as an electoral candidate or vote dilutes the whole idea. Noncitizens have citizenship and democracy within their grasp and should be encouraged to become citizens, but if foreign residents are given the same rights as nationals, there will be less incentive to enter a naturalisation process. Only by obtaining citizenship, foreign residents should be allowed to run as electoral candidates. Instead, governments should be spending their money on citizenship drives and voter registration for citizens.[2] Non-citizens are not bound by all of the rules of the social contract, and if the contract doesn’t apply to them, why should they have a say in how it is implemented or amended? If your allegiance cannot be confirmed by your citizenship, you should not be able to run as an electoral candidate or vote.

Premises

[P1] Foreign residents and immigrants score low on social indicators, due in part to the limit role they play in the political scene. [P2] Politicians can enact discriminatory legislation, secure in the knowledge that a non-resident candidate isn’t their political rival, who could hold them to a higher level of accountability for their actions. [P3] Giving foreign residents passive eligibility would therefore enhance the voices of immigrants, making the government more representative to minorities.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] If foreign residents are given the same rights as nationals, there will be less incentive to enter a naturalisation process, which dilutes the idea of citizenship.

References

  1. https://jacobinmag.com/2018/11/noncitizen-voting-undocumented-immigrants-midterm-elections
  2. https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/john-kass/ct-kass-immigration-met-0710-20150710-column.html
This page was last edited on Saturday, 25 Jul 2020 at 18:33 UTC