Empowering Hispanics to Vote With Their Feet


This symposium contribution outlines the significance of foot voting for America’s Hispanic population and highlights ways in which we can better empower them to “vote with their feet.” People vote with their feet when they make individually decisive choices about the government policies they wish to live under, as opposed to ballot box voting, where each voter usually has an only an infinitesimally small chance of determining electoral outcomes or otherwise affecting policy. There are three major foot voting mechanisms: through international migration, by moving between jurisdictions in a federal system, and by making choices in the private sector.

Part II summarizes the advantages of foot voting over conventional ballot box voting as a mechanism of political choice. Foot voters have more meaningful opportunities to make decisive choices with a real impact on their lives, and better incentives to become well-informed. Part III outlines ways in which Hispanics often benefit from foot voting opportunities even more than most other groups in American society. This applies to both international migration and domestic foot voting. Part IV describes ways in which we can enhance both international and domestic foot voting opportunities for Hispanics. Much can be accomplished by increasing access to legal migration, legalizing the status of current undocumented migrants within the United States, and breaking down barriers to domestic interjurisdictional foot voting.

Expanding Hispanic foot voting is not merely a benefit for this group alone. Empowering them to “move to opportunity” also benefits other groups, including native-born Americans of all races. The liberty and prosperity of America’s largest minority group is of obvious significance to the nation as a whole.