October 14, 2004
Impacting the vote or pissing everyone off?

The Guardian has launched an interesting move; exploring how foreigners can influence the upcoming US election.

What is technically a vote from the American people for an American president is, however, widely perceived as a decision with a massive impact for the rest of the world - so big, that many non-US citizens want their voices to be heard (nevermind what women in the US should consider, the rest of the world: Muslim states and non-Muslim states alike; increased CO2 levels will impact us all if the US doesn't take a sharp turn at this upcoming crossroads).

So what do you American readers think? Should foreigners keep their hands off and mouths shut about the upcoming election? Do you care? Does stuff like this make sense to you? Does it piss you off?

(Read more (diverging) views on this at the following blogs: Guy Dickinson, Sofia Sideshow, Diderot's Diary)

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Comments

While I agree that our decision will have a major impact, I'm not sure I agree that someone living in London [who isn't a U.S. citizen] should have the right to vote in the election. Of course, if we Americans [generally speaking here] were smarter, this wouldn't even be an issue. I have doubts about the intelligence of someone who can back the train wreck that is the Bush administration.

Posted by: mac on October 14, 2004 09:19 PM

Non citizens vote? That is absurd we already have enough educational, economic, and ethnic diversity in our voting populace. If the rest of the world doesn't like US policies then they should elect leaders that will not give lip service or resources to US influences that presumably the majority of their various populaces do not support.

Posted by: Dale on October 15, 2004 02:23 PM

Is it even relevant (rhetorical), what the rest of the World thinks, surely the general population of the U.S. would never be so ridiculously stupid as to keep Bush in.

Thank goodness we (in the U.K.) do not receive the barrage of political inculcation through TV that my American friends bear witness to on a daily basis, with half of the population too busy to realise what utter garbage is being thrown at them by Bush (AND Kerry) it makes me think sometimes many are just pleading ignorance. Yes our news is biased, but not to a schizophrenic degree as seen in the U.S. by myself and my friends.

It is true that we (the "rest of the World") force a great deal of responsibility upon the American government, it is deserved, "we" would expect the same for ANY government that held such grand power over the daily lives of all, we have moved on from fuedal lands towards a necessarily more responsible, unified globe.

Just think further into the future, and the implications when colonising other nearby planets finally becomes a reality, we cannot hold the same "not in my backyard" mentality that has caused so many problems forever.

We should certainly NOT have the right to participate in U.S. votes, however it should be down to the government in question to act responsibly, lead (or pushed) by the intelligent American people.

Posted by: Richard on October 15, 2004 02:55 PM

Based on this way of thinking, I should be able to vote in Kuwait, France, Britain, Germany, China.... you name it. Actions in all countries - currency strength against the dollar, participation in the war on terrorism, violation of UN sanctions, the price of oil, election of extremist politicians (Le Pen and Haider ring a bell?) and many more issues affect me. This ties into the Buddhist theory of universal interconnectedness. Wait a minute - methinks this smacks of imperialism. Isn't this what the whole world is accusing the US government of doing already? Gasp, the hypocrisy!!!

There is a very straightforward way to to vote in the US if you're not an American national already : Move here and take up residence; apply for citizenship; pay taxes; serve on jury duty; give two hoots about state and local elections - those affect Americans somewhat more so than the Presidency. Otherwise, trust that we will not make the same mistake as four years ago and make sure your respective governments are on the up and up.

Posted by: valerief on October 15, 2004 04:02 PM

valerief: If you read Richard's post, you will see that he stated: 'We should certainly NOT have the right to participate in U.S. votes' and I would strongly agree with this sentiment based on the point that you raised regarding the implication of American citizens then demanding the right to vote in the elections of other nations... what a travesty that would be.

What you must realise though is that the point that is being made here is that the decisions made in the US impact other nations more than those made anywhere else in the globe, this is more than likely the reason why citizens all over the world are anxious about the US elections.

I'm not trying to imply that out nation or any other nation in the world is superior to yours, it's just that with a leader like our own who has his head so far up George Bush's arse he can see the back of his teeth, it is important for us to care about what happens over there. Forget the suggestion that we should endeavour to make changes to our own government, how can we when the US administration threatens sanctions to our economy, it is a FACT that the US is the only superpower left in the world and until someone who can yield that power with a suitable level of responsibility we are all in very grave danger.

Posted by: Jon on October 15, 2004 04:32 PM

I'm a little confused by some of the foregoing comments (or perhaps the commentators misunderstood?). There's no suggestion that non-citizens should be able to vote in US elections.
The Guardian campaign is to write to voters in Clark Co., OH, all registered as independents, urging them to vote (yes, for Kerry) i.e. there's an attempt to influence legitimate voters, but not for non-citizens to vote themselves. Okay; from one point of view, it amounts to much the same thing.

Incidentally, though I can vaguely understand the motivation behind the campaign, I don't think it's a good idea.

Posted by: NRT on October 15, 2004 05:31 PM

I don't thing that "we" (as in the rest of the world outside USA) have the right to vote anywhere but in our own countries. But I think it is a good idea that we try to urge more Americans to vote. If all of them vote (and there are 9 million more women than men there and 20% blacks, not to mention a lot of other minotities)I am sure we will not have to worry about Bush or any other lunatics any more.

But to them them who to vote for is a bit too much...

Posted by: Bente on October 16, 2004 06:20 PM

Worried about CO2 levels?

have you ever been to China?

The very country who is exempt from Kyoto.

Posted by: on October 20, 2004 12:58 PM

Hi, good idea but very difficult. Grettings.

Posted by: George on October 22, 2004 10:37 AM

I wasn't responding to Richard's post but rather the concept that the rest of the world should be involved and have influence in US politics. Regardless of America's status in the global pecking order, I still feel that minding one's own non-American business is in order. I'm sure the last thing other countries want is for US nationals to hold sway over their elections.

Did anyone find it interesting that Putin, who opposed the Iraq war (perhaps because there were sanction-violating contracts between Iraq and Russian companies) and has generally not always gotten along with the current administration, supports Bush? I find that really frightening, and even more reason to vote against him (although I made up my mind when the RNC invaded New York City, fouling daily life up and turning midtown into a police state while not generating the economic windfall that everyone expected - they barely knew how to tip).

Posted by: valerief on October 28, 2004 05:09 PM

valerief: "trust that we will not make the same mistake as four years ago"

Great.

Posted by: Jon on November 4, 2004 12:32 PM

I guess we all underestimated the 4 million evangelical Christian sheep going to the polls. Ho hum. Well, so much for people outside the US trying to influence Ohio. Thank God I live in a "blue" state.

Posted by: valerief on November 7, 2004 07:25 PM
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