Working paper Open Access
Blatter, Joachim; Schmid, Samuel D.; Blättler, Andrea C.
Today democratic nation-states are confronted with populations that consist not only of seden-tary residents, but also of immigrants. For these democracies to retain full legitimacy, it is imperative that long-term immigrant residents are also included into the demos, so that all those who are subjected to national laws can take part in creating them. Treating this consensus in democratic theory as a normative benchmark, in this paper we develop the nucleus of a quantitative tool for the comparative evaluation of democracies with respect to their electoral inclusiveness toward immigrants. We specify the underlying concept of electoral inclusiveness by taking into account both de jure and de facto meanings as its fundamental dimensions as well as access to citizenship and alien enfranchisement as the two mechanisms leading to inclusion. For measurement, we combine existing indicators such as indices of the inclusiveness of naturalization laws with original indicators such as the percentage of enfranchised noncitizens among all long-term immigrant residents. Aggregated according to our normative framework, the resulting Immigrant Inclusion Index (IMIX) shows that in most of the 22 European countries under scrutiny the electoral inclusiveness with respect to immigrants is far away from what it should be according to normative theories of democracy. This is true inde-pendent of whether we look at the laws and regulations of these democracies or whether we evaluate how well they actually function. Hence, we can diagnose a substantial democratic deficit with respect to electoral inclusion across Europe. However, in both dimensions there are significant differences among European democracies; and we find that alien enfranchisement is not used as a substitute for access to citizenship. We conclude by indicating how our evaluative tool could be expanded or modified.