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Migrant Electoral Guide

Primary GCM Objectives

GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


2021 - Present

Type of practice

Policy (including law, public measure)

Geographic scope



Sub Regions:


Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires


The main purpose of the Guide is to bring information material to the migrant population whose permanent residence is in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA for its acronym in Spanish) to help them understand the entire process of election of district authorities. This Guide emphasizes the step by step of how to vote. In addition, it contemplates the process before, during and after voting, to clear doubts and motivate migrants' participation in the local elections. Specifically conceived for the 2021 CABA elections, a first guide was prepared three months before election day so that it could be published prior to the elections. It was subsequently adjusted to a new version, in such a way that it would serve as an informative tool in a continuous and timeless way for future electoral processes. Additionally, it includes information on the current electoral regulations, detailing the requirements to vote. Furthermore, it contains information on the political organization of the City of Buenos Aires, the eligible positions and a section dedicated to electoral accessibility (measures that are implemented to guarantee the right to vote for people with disabilities). It also includes a section with frequently asked questions about Election Day. This initiative reaches the entire migrant population eligible to vote in CABA, which is equivalent to more than 14% of the total number of people registered in the City (around 422,000 international migrants). The guide also provides statistical data on the migrant population in CABA and information about the modification of laws and possibilities of exercising rights for migrants in the Argentine territory. It is worth mentioning that the Guide is produced within the framework of the programme "En la ciudad votás" (“In the City you vote) whose objective is to raise awareness of migrants' right to vote and encourage their participation in civic life and enhance their contribution to sustainable development.


Main Implementing Organization(s)

Municipalities in Argentina
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Detailed Information

Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (GCBA), UNDP, IOM Argentina

Benefit and Impact

The Guide is a useful tool to make the right to vote more accessible and visible to the migrant population and enhance their inclusion and contribution to sustainable development. Indeed, it is an instrument that materializes the new political reality of the jurisdiction of CABA and that in turn responds to the need to provide consolidated and holistic information on political rights, electoral processes and other related issues of interest. In addition, by benefiting a framework programme of the City Government with defined programming and budgets, the Guide not only requires modest financial resources, but also allows its mainstreaming in existing activities and/or training with government officials and other key actors.
The dissemination of this initiative generated the interest of other jurisdictions, and national organizations such as the National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI), which expressed their desire to hold meetings to share experiences, good practices and lessons learned on the process gone through in the implementation. Moreover, they expressed the desire to, eventually, replicate the experience in new jurisdictions.
In order to evaluate the impact of the Migrant Electoral Guide and obtain a global perception on the development of the initiative, IOM and GCABA developed a quali-quantitative study on the first experience of application of automatic registration for the exercise of suffrage of migrants residing in the City of Buenos Aires in September 2022. This study analysed the barriers and facilitators for the civic participation of migrants in city elections and the production of quality information. Based on the information collected, lessons learned were identified and recommendations were suggested to improve the scope of this initiative.
At this initial stage, certain limitations can be evidenced in terms of dissemination and reach to the target population. Indeed, among the people who did not participate, 22% of them said that they did not know about the right to vote, while 54% of the people surveyed did not know about the existence of the automatic registry. This shows the importance of the Guide but also the need to expand its outreach.

Key Lessons

Lessons learned in the implementation of the Migrant Electoral Guide:
Inter-institutional coordination: It is crucial to initiate coordination processes well in advance to achieve consensus on non-partisan terminology and language.
Expansion of outreach: There is a correlation between voter numbers and community participation, so the need to expand outreach networks and channels, such as the use of posters on public transport and television, was identified.
Greater institutionality: Although not initially planned, the importance of providing greater institutionality and political support to the Guide was recognized through a high-level launch event.
Advocacy strategies: It is relevant to identify strategies to promote legal changes that allow the election of migrants, such as advancing the law of the communes of CABA.
Importance of the Migrant Guide: Before its creation, there was no official document that centralized information on the right to vote of migrants. This highlights the need for effective knowledge and information management in government bodies competent in suffrage and migration governance.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

It is important to ensure that the preparation of the guide does not have a a political language that influences the decision-making of the voting migrant.
It is recommended to framework the Guide in a programme or project such as "In the City, you vote", which guarantees its sustainability and maintains an active dissemination, especially when the financial resources for its production, printing, and dissemination are limited by the actor and / or implementing partner.
It is useful to establish training sessions for officials and staff located in primary care centres for migrants in order to ensure that they have updated information on migrants' access to the right to vote and other related specificities.
It is recommended to incorporate pictograms for people with hearing loss and other disabilities, as well as translate the Guide into more languages.
In order to maximize the scope and impact of the Guide, it is important to articulate with local civil society actors such as migrant and diaspora organizations, primary care centers for migrants, schools, mass media. The dissemination shall not only be on a digital basis, through social networks, due to possible limitations in digital literacy or access to internet services.
Finally, it is important to adapt the content of the Guide according to the target audience of the jurisdiction in question, which would require a prior mapping of the nationalities present in that territory.


The Guide is an innovative response in terms of disseminating information on the political rights of the migrant population in the jurisdiction of the country with the highest proportion of migrants. Based on the understanding that automatic registration does not solve all the barriers to the exercise of suffrage in local elections, this strategy was designed that is aimed at all possible voters by bringing information in a simple, accessible, condensed and consensual way to explain the electoral process step by step and improve the exercise of a fundamental right. In this way, it contributes to improving the integration of migrants and enhancing their contributions to sustainable development in host communities.

Additional Resources

Date submitted:

28 September 2023

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.



*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).