UEA Students set to intervene in the U.S elections

UEA Students set to intervene in the U.S elections

Professor Lee Marsden explains how, thanks to a unique initiative by students at the University of East Anglia, people across the world will be able to vote in the US elections, through the Global Vote Project.

The most bizarre U.S. presidential election in living memory is sure to have further twists and turns before electors have their say on 8 November. The outcome of this election matters not just to Americans but also to the rest of the world. Although the United States is a power in relative decline, increasingly challenged militarily by Russia and economically by China, it firmly remains a flawed but indispensable power essential for economic stability and upholding international law.

What happens in the polling stations across America directly affects you and me. Donald Trump may complain about a rigged election and Hillary Clinton about Russian interference but at least Americans get to choose. For the rest of the world we are passive observers with views that are never considered.

However all that may be set to change thanks to a unique initiative by students at the University of East Anglia. UEA students are set to launch a major social media campaign in the run up to the US elections inviting people across the world to vote virtually through the Global Vote

The Global Vote has been developed by Simon Anholt an honorary professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies at UEA and allows anyone from outside America to vote once for their preferred candidate in the US Presidential elections from now until 8 November. Voters are presented with manifestos from the four candidates Hillary Clinton (Democrat), Donald Trump (Republican), Jill Stein (Green Party) and Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and have an alternative option to abstain and vote ‘Nobody’.

The manifestos concentrate exclusively on what each candidate will do for the rest of the world outside America. Candidate attitudes to international aid, climate change, peace and stability, trade, human rights, migration, international law and foreign policy in general. The idea behind Global Vote is to encourage governments, and in this instance specifically the United States, to consider the impact of their policies on the rest of the world.

Despite signs of increased nationalism around the world Global Vote taps into and inspires all who share the planet to consider themselves global citizens, interested and engaged with the rest of the world. To ask: “not what your country can do for you, but what your country can do for the rest of the world”.

UEA students are using their networks to spread the message that the rest of the world can vote and cast a verdict on the US presidential race. Potentially hundreds of thousands of global citizens, outside America, will be able to cast their virtual vote in the US elections on behalf of the rest of the world.

The Global Vote will announce the world’s verdict hours before the US polls close.

The campaign officially launches with a public talk by Simon Anholt at one o’clock on Wednesday 26 October, Lecture Theatre 2, University of East Anglia, Norwich.

Professor Lee Marsden, Head of School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies, University of East Anglia, l.marsden@uea.ac.uk

Image credit: Rich Girard

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