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New Project Trades British Votes for Global Approval

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, March 8 2010


Here's an intriguingly curious new project from the U.K. It's called Give Your Vote, and the idea is that, given the global impact of British policies, volunteers there are offering to give up their vote in the upcoming election based on the consensus of people around the world. How does the world want Britons to vote? Organizers are putting together an online (and, importantly, mobile) process by which people in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Ghana can put questions to local candidates in the U.K., and then direct their volunteer counterparts -- via text message -- how to vote come election day. The project officially launches March 15th.

Why Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Ghana? The war, climate change, and farm subsidies.

While the gut reaction to a project like this might be to be a bit unsettled (and I don't know nearly enough about British election law to know if this runs afoul in anyway), they make a reasonable case for why democracy bounded-by-borders is outdated in a global world:

In today’s world where democracy stops at the border, the people who make these decisions are not accountable to the people they affect.

Of course, that's pretty much exactly as democracy is designed to function. British MPs, at the end of the day, represent the people of Leeds, not the people of Accra. The impact of the policy choices made in the British Parliament on the people of other countries is somewhat less important -- in a procedural sense -- than what the people they represent think about the impact of those policy choices on the result of the world. But the other way to think about this is simply as the Internet facilitating some sort of advisory council for the voters of Britain. If you desire to vote as a citizen of the world, then here's a way for you to actually know how it is the world would care for you to vote.

Intriguing stuff. Thoughts?