In the run up to the American presidential elections we will be asking a panel of BBC News Online users to share their views. Here, we asked them for their thoughts on the Democratic Convention, and John Kerry's speech.
MEET THE PANEL
Name: Linda Alston
Lives: Madison, Wisconsin
Works: Publications coordinator, currently unemployed
Current voting intention: Democrat
10 words or less: "Intuitive and analytical, often right but not always"
After listening to John Kerry's address to the Democratic Convention, I will no longer be voting against George W Bush.
Instead I will be voting for John Kerry.
Kerry's introduction to the crowd by his daughters and fellow veteran Max Cleland was a moving and convincing tribute to a man whose motives and intentions I had questioned.
The tone established by the introduction did a lot to dispel the accusations of aloofness aimed at Kerry by his detractors.
It and Kerry's message formed the connection to the audience that Kerry had hoped and worked for.
His speech addressed most of the important issues in this election - healthcare, education, the environment - and wisely stayed away from others such as abortion and gay marriage.
Most importantly, Kerry addressed voters' safety and leadership concerns in a clear and straightforward way.
He did a good job of selling himself as a strong and decisive leader dedicated to fighting terrorism and ensuring homeland security.
The optimism and inclusiveness embodied by his address should appeal to undecided voters and Republicans dismayed by the current president and his administration.
The forward-looking emphasis of the convention and the "can do" optimism expressed by Kerry can only suggest that the Democrats came away from Boston feeling hopeful and proud of their choice of candidate.
I have to disagree with Linda. Kerry and the other Democrats did give good speeches but they did not present any strong leadership. In fact, they were so careful not to say anything that might annoy undecided voters that their speeches could have been written for Republicans. They made a lot of bland statements about being for family values, strong defense, homeland security, education, and medical care without explaining what they would do differently from the Republicans or how they would pay for any of it. They avoided taking a stand on gay marriage or abortion - hardly a mark of strong leadership. They avoided the issue of reforming America's medical care system even though everyone knows its in crisis. I find it disappointing that this close to the election the Democratic candidate for president still can't come up with any ideas more specific than "I'm not George Bush".
Scott Westwood, Port Orchard, WA, USA
I agree completely, with the exception that I'm a Republican who is dissatisfied with the current administration. The Democratic Convention made me feel good about Kerry - whereas before I would have just been voting to change the current leadership.
Brenda Gale, Dallas, Texas, USA
Kerry was just the right combination of strong, aware, focused, open and ready to roll his sleeves up. The fact that this man still inspires the men who served under him 30 years later speaks volumes, especially when compared to Bush's military record.
Michael Gaston, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Kerry is an empty suit pandering to the "government owes me a place to live, food, healthcare, daycare, self-esteem, training and protection against losing my job in a global economy" brigade.
A Martin, Gainesville, FL, USA
I hope that all these Kerry supporters really show up and vote on election day. It is rather important that nothing prevents any of us from doing that. Of course, showing up, being a registered voter, doesn't necessarily mean we'll get to vote, especially if we live in Florida. I will be voting for Kerry, and I am proud to do it. I will never give GWB my vote.
Linda, how can you commend John Kerry's decisiveness while simultaneously praising his skirting of the gay marriage and abortion issues? I'm no Bush fan, but Kerry's views are no less clear to me now than they were before his party's convention.
Nate Peck, Charleston, SC, USA
Linda, I must agree with you. My husband and I are so beaten down from this administration's poor performance and shocking disregard for our constitutional rights that at first, we were just voting against GWB. Now, since John Kerry's speech last night, we're once again beginning to feel a sense of hope. We both believe Kerry's got what it takes to run the country.
Teresa, Anaheim, California, USA
Yes indeed very well articulated. I could not agree with you more. I'd like to add one point - in my opinion Al Gore neglected to encourage the Green Party people to come on board by not mentioning the issues which Green Party people are most concerned about, i.e. the protection of our natural environment. But last night John Kerry did appeal to the cares of those in the Green Party. I think this was very good and very wise and shows the depth of homework undertaken by the Kerry team.
Henderson, San Antonio, Texas
I think Linda has got it just right. Where the Republicans get the idea that Kerry is stiff and doesn't have the personality to appeal to voters beats me.
Roy Ellis, Escondido, CA USA
I too will proudly be voting for John Kerry. I can't remember when I have felt so good about a candidate and proud of the Democratic Party's platform.
B Deal, Franklin, TN USA