[en] Over the past two decades, sending states have greatly increased their interest in maintaining strong connections with their citizens abroad. The worldwide adoption of external voting – understood not only as an electoral procedure that allows some citizens to cast their vote outside the national territory but also as an acknowledgement that an emigrant status is compatible with polity membership – illustrates this phenomenon. Why do states enfranchise citizens abroad? In this article, I seek to answer this question by comparing the evolution of the debates on the extension of voting privileges to citizens residing abroad in Mexico, Italy and Belgium. My central argument is that a combination of variables shapes the develop- ment of external voting in different parts of the world, as well as the content of these laws. These include emigrant lobbying, home states ’ desires to stimulate emigrant loyalty for economic purposes and, most importantly, the evolution of domestic politics. In discussing these variables, I also shed light on how one can shape the adoption of external voting legislation to control the impact of votes cast abroad.