Research on Finnish Society

Distance as a cost of cross-border voting

Johanna Peltoniemi
University of Tampere

Globalisation and European integration have led to increased mobility, and a growing number of countries have enfranchised their emigrant citizens. However, the political participation of Nordic emigrants has hitherto been a scantly investigated issue. This article examines which factors influence the voting likelihood of emigrants; does distance influence as a cost of crossborder voting, and how does time lived abroad influences emigrants' decision to vote in the parliamentary elections, both in homeland and in the country of residence. The statistical analyses are based on data collected from 1,067 Finnish emigrants in 2014. The results suggest that distance to the nearest polling station plays a significant role in the emigrant voting decision. Furthermore, we find that emigrants' probability to vote in the homeland elections decline with time, whereas the probability to vote in the country of residence increases. This study provides a new understanding of voter behaviour in globalised world, and the findings of this article can be used to develop targeted interventions aimed at ameliorating transnational political participation.

Keywords: Cross-border voting, distance as a cost of voting, emigrant voting, turnout, transnational electoral participation, Finland

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