May 112012
For Those About to Vote I Salute You

This weekend I’ll cast my first vote in an American election—the “May 15, 2012 Primary Election.”* It’s a big deal. Everyone remembers pivotal moments of their life: Slovaks where they were when Czechoslovakia ceased to exist and independent Slovakia came into existence; (East) Germans when the Wall came down; Americans where they were when the planes hit the Towers. I remember the exact moment I decided to apply for U.S. citizenship and be a part of this nation: on the evening of November 4th, 2008, as I watched Barack Obama […] Continue reading >

Mar 052012
How Migration Affects Your Vote in Your Home Country

Civic limbo is an extreme case of the migration experience. Only a small fraction of Central European nationals vote from abroad and their share in electoral turnouts, and hence the impact on electoral outcomes in their home countries, is even smaller. If their votes carried greater influence, however, elections across Central Europe would turn out quite differently. That is a conclusion of a 2006 paper by Jan Fidrmuc and Orla Doyle, who examined the effect of migration on voting behavior. Migrants encounter different cultural and social norms in their host countries. The exposure […] Continue reading >

Feb 212012
Surviving the Civic Limbo

The upcoming early parliamentary election in Slovakia reminded me of a different sort of neither-here-nor-there handicap new immigrants experience: I call it the civic limbo. Until mid-2000’s you had to be present on the territory of Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to vote.* If you had moved to the United States, you were unable to vote in your old country’s elections and, as a non-citizen, not yet allowed to vote in your new one’s. You were left out of the democratic process anywhere. True enough, to the extent […] Continue reading >