Thousands of Britons Give Their Votes to Developing World
Thousands of Britons Give Their Votes to Developing World

British voters go to the polls May 6 after a political campaign that has seen domestic issues in the forefront. But there is a new element to this election that has a decidedly foreign angle - non-British citizens living in Afghanistan, Ghana, and Bangladesh are going to be able to vote. "Give Your Vote" is a new project that lets Britons donate their vote to people living in the developing world.

Banners promoting Britain's upcoming election were paraded down the streets of Kabul last week. Flyers were handed out that told Afghans about the foreign policies of Britain's top party leaders. It is a campaign to inform Afghans about Britain's election - because some of them are going to be voting in it.

They will choose the political party they think has the best policies for Afghanistan... and then text or e-mail that choice to a voter in Britain, who will cast it for them.

Current Prime Minister Gordon Brown has a supporter here:

"I have done my selection and I have selected him to give my vote and before this he has done many things for Afghanistan."

But so too does his top rival:

"I decided to give to Conservative Mr. David Cameron. Why? Because he has a clean policy regarding Afghanistan."

Back in Britain, when voters go to the polls in a general election May 6, several thousand will cast their ballot for a candidate chosen by a person living in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, or Ghana.

May Abdalla helped set up the project. She describes how the voting works:

"Anybody in these three countries can text a local number with how they want to vote and then on election day somebody in the UK will receive that text message and carry out that vote on their behalf," she said.

Give Your Vote was started up last year by a handful of young people from an activist group called Egality.

They think everyone in the world should have an equal say in the issues that affect them.

Abdalla says Bangladesh, Ghana, and Afghanistan were chosen because of the importance for them of Britain's decisions on climate change, agricultural subsidies, and war.  

With a global electorate, says Abdallah, politicians will have to think twice about their policies.

"The difference between the parties are symbolic of who those parties represent," added Abdallah.  "As long as they're representing only UK interests, their policies are focused towards the people who will be voting in that election. So it's through expanding that electorate that you're expanding the policies."

One person who will be giving her vote is Fanny James, 23. She says she's not losing out.

"It's like a shared vote rather than my own vote because it's still me casting a vote in my name, I'm just taking on board someone else's situation," said James.

Fanny James is donating her vote, but what about the rest of Britain? We asked a few Londoners:

LONDONER 1: "I think it's important to use my vote for myself, but I think there's plenty of other people out there who would be more than willing to give their vote away given, I guess, how few people voted in the last elections, I'm sure there's lots of people willing to give a vote away."

LONDONER 2: "I think so, yes, I would."

LONDONER 3: "No I wouldn't. I think it's quite important that the people of this country vote for who they want to be in power within our own country."

But vote donor, Fanny James says she lives in a world where economies, war and climate work on a global scale, and she thinks politics should too.

"Our democracy is completely national and is maintained on a really national scale and it seems like that hasn't really evolved with the rest of the world," added Fanny.

Globalized elections - it's bound to raise some eyebrows, but it certainly has some fans in Kabul.