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The rest of the world should be allowed to get a vote in the election for USA president

Updated on August 31, 2014
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I work in London - a great world city with a powerful elected mayor who has power over evertyhing from the public transport I use every day to the Olympics we just enjoyed. But every four years, when it is time to elect the mayor, I don't get a vote. Because I don't happen to live in London.

I know that's how it works, and that I choose to be a commuter (because I can then afford to live in a house rather than a small flat) but there is still a democratic deficit if I get no say over the appointment of a politician who has so much influence over my life.

People I can't vote for or against

But it doesn't stop there. In this ever-globalising world there are lots of other powerful people, elected and not elected who have a great influence over my life. And it's not just me. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, probably has more impact on ordinary Greek people's lives than the Greek Government.

And, the newfound economic power of China notwithstanding, the most powerful man in the world is still the President of the United States, POTUS himself. He has influence over the lives of everyone on the planet, but one the quarter of a million US citizens get to vote in the presidential election. Is that really fair?

I know it would be unprecendented to open up elections to citizens of any country at all, but some countries (like the UK) allow some resident aliens to vote, which seems only fair.

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Objection!

I'm sure there will be plenty of objections. The President has more impact on Americans than he will have on the rest of the world so it would be unfair if US citizens could be outvoted. But perhaps we could have some system where US votes count double or even ten times non-US votes.

Also the President is paid for US taxpayers. We have heard of "no taxation without representation". What about "no representation without taxation"? But then non-taxpayers who are US citizens are still allowed to vote. Maybe overseas voters should have to pay for the privilege? But then that would be unfair to the world's poor.

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What can be done?

In this globally connected world we live in, if we want to make progress on so many things that affect all of our lives, like global warming, peace in the Middle East, or nuclear disarmament, the President of the United States (and the leaders of other countries like China and Russia) probably make more difference than our own leaders, so you can understand why we want to have some say in who they are.

But ultimately it is impossible to have a completely fair and representative system. Even a democratic world government could not guarantee that.

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    • profile image

      SassySue1963 4 years ago

      Seriously? Really? Tell me you're kidding with this nonsense.

      No. It's our country, our future, our President. It's entirely fair. If you want a say in it, apply through immigration for a Visa, apply for citizenship, pass your test, take your oath, become a naturalized citizen and then you can vote.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 4 years ago from California, United States of America

      Very unique idea and I can't say I disagree with it. The US has a major impact on the whole globe, through economics and war; people are being affected by the US with no say in the matter. Why not count in their votes?

    • Cruncher profile image
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      Cruncher 4 years ago from UK

      Hey Sue. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      While I maybe exaggerating a little to make my point, it is a serious one. How do we have any democratic input when decisions are taken in other countries far away that affect our lives.

      I could say I wanted a vote in the Chinese elections too... but they're aren't any!

    • Cruncher profile image
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      Cruncher 4 years ago from UK

      Thanks for comment, Nate. Glad you can see some merit in it.

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      Mtbailz 4 years ago

      Great hub. Quite thought provoking. The theory goes both ways however. Of the EU collapses then the US economy goes with it (most likely). So would we have voting rights in European countries as well? Food for thought.

    • Cruncher profile image
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      Cruncher 4 years ago from UK

      Mtbailz. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      You raise a good point. In theory we need some kind of system of part votes for different countries depending on how they influence our lives. I can that being hard to work out in reality though!

    • profile image

      LikaMarie 4 years ago

      Hmm, well, maybe a global organization such as the UN - and have every country represented, and everyone can vote for who leads this global prowler.

      In the mean time, every country votes their own president, and each state/province votes their governor, municipality the mayor, and so on... Each district has their senate and representatives.

      This is how it ought to be, and each country thinks they have the best.

    • Cruncher profile image
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      Cruncher 4 years ago from UK

      Hey LikaMarie.

      Thanks for commenting.

      That is another way things could work - and probably a better one, a world where every country obeys the rules and make agreements for the good of all. I hope it happens soon!

    • Warren Clark profile image

      Warren Clark 4 years ago from Melbourne, Florida

      I would have to disagree with this article although I do see where you are coming from.

      The problem is that already corporations have been funneling money into politicians pockets here. If everyone in the world could vote for our president, the larger corporations across the seas would be funneling money into their pockets to ensure their companies best interests are looked after. The president would no longer be serving as representation of the people who form the more perfect union we have fought to become (and failed in my eyes).

    • Cruncher profile image
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      Cruncher 4 years ago from UK

      Thanks for the comment, Warren!

      I agree that the amount of money poured into politics is a bad things and must eventually corrupt politics. Although if foreigners had a vote at least some of this money would flow into poorer countries - think of it as foreign aid. ;)

    • Warren Clark profile image

      Warren Clark 4 years ago from Melbourne, Florida

      However, our country is technically poor. We are on borrowed money. Technically we are owned by Europe. Any money we make isn't even truly ours. So if we let everyone in our goods, the money we owe people wouldn't be going to the people we owe but the people who then would have their interests in our pockets. It could easily cause a WW3. God knows none of the money would go to the sick kids in Africa.

    • Cruncher profile image
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      Cruncher 4 years ago from UK

      I understand what you're saying ,Warren. But Europe isn't looking too rich, either!

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