We discussed the American presidential election in our global phone-in programme Talking Point.
BBC News website, BBC World Service Radio and American National Public Radio's WLRN station also brought together opinions from around the world in special phone-in debate.
This is the second page of your comments on the US election.
I am an American who has lived 29 years overseas. I have lived in Europe and Southeast Asia. While I find it very interesting to know what those living outside of America feel about America and the U.S. elections, the bottom line is - they are not U.S. citizens and, therefore, their opinion is just that - an opinion. President Bush did not create the terrorist attack on America, or the hostile feelings towards the US. In fact, terrorists had been threatening to attack America and her interests long before President Bush came into office. I would definitely vote for President Bush. He is a man of his word unlike John Kerry and is not afraid to stand up for the United States of America.
What Americans need to think about is how their country was before Bill Clinton and how it is now after Bill Clinton. John Kerry is my country's only hope and must win in order for the United States to return to some kind of sanity and rational thinking.
Benjamin Franklin said, "Those who would trade their liberty for security deserve neither."
I don't like my Bill of Rights being tampered with - and that is exactly what has happened over the last four years.
In addition, America has lost her prestige and few nations listen to her anymore because she cried wolf in the voice of Colin Powell at the U.N. Vote for Kerry or it's gonna get scary.
Jim Rousch, Los Angeles, USA
In my view, it doesn´t matter who wins, nothing will change in the substance, only the style.
Luis, Lisbon, Portugal
People that can make a difference for the better are usually ridiculed and hated for a long time.
I want Bush to win.
If anything, and with the World as it is right now, you are better with the someone you know and all that.
Iain MacMillan, USA
I intend to vote for Kerry tomorrow, even though I am no fan. As a moderate Democrat, I am dismayed that once again, I am voting against a candidate rather than for a candidate. I am terrified that Bush will continue taking away my rights as a female, and am disgusted with his handling of foreign relations. His refusal to consider options and admit mistakes (Iraq) is truly frightening, and not a trait I look for in a leader.
Carla Happel, Boston, MA (native-born Texan)
I am not a Bush supporter but I am not exactly in favour of Kerry either. This race is simply choosing the lesser of two evils. I live in the home state of W and I see the need for reform for our country. The mudslinging and slander of both candidates is a disgrace and makes it hard to trust either of them. I do believe however, whatever your views may be, you should educate yourself on both of the candidates before you form an opinion. Everyone has one but that does not mean it is an educated one. I realise that this race is being watched and criticised by other countries but do remember that Americans are hit the hardest.
Jeaneen, Texas, USA
I just became an American citizen recently, and I will be voting this November 2nd, not so much as an American citizen but as a citizen of the world. It will be extremely hard for Kerry to fix all the setbacks that Bush has caused with security, the environment, and civil liberties, among others but it will be a fresh start for the US and the world.
Pablo Estrada, USA
The US election matters because everything the American president does reverberates all over the world. Bush had his time and his chance. Now it's time to give Kerry a chance to do something different and better.
Jon Huhm, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Well, I am backing Kerry. But to tell the truth, I just wish all this would be over soon and we could go back to normal lives without having to listen to all the inflammatory political ads. Every time you switch on the TV, somebody or the other is putting down the other guy. You escape the TV and go shopping and BIG posters advertise the respective candidates. I just want the politicians to get back to doing their jobs
Viswanath, Denver, USA
I'm 52 years old, and my country has never been as messed up as it is right now. More than anything we need a change at the top. Bush and his inner circle have failed the country in every way. We need to reconnect with the world again instead of alienating everyone with our cowboy mentality. I love the UK and lived there for 6 years, you are our strongest friends and I feel we've let you down terribly. Keep your fingers crossed for a proper result.
Russell Beeker, Alexandria, Va, USA
I believe, with every fibre of my being, that it is critical to replace Mr Bush as "leader of the free world". His administration has caused devastating, nearly irreparable damage to our country's status in the world. I just heard an American citizen on the BBC News Hour broadcast say that he and some friends are looking into leaving the country if Bush retains control. I, too, have entertained thoughts of getting out of my homeland if that occurs. Staying here, under another Bush administration, would be intolerable, and could be dangerous to anyone who values individual liberty.
Angela Garson, Marlton, New Jersey, USA
I am supporting John Kerry for President. I am shocked that there are so many Americans who are undecided, because I can't understand why they would want four more years of George W Bush.
I have a twin brother who is a Marine in Iraq for the second time. He's supporting George Bush.
Overall, I'm ashamed at this Administration. How is the United States ever going to earn any global respect with Bush as President?
Caroline J. McKenzie, Toledo, Ohio
The most unfortunate thing about this election is how it has polarised America. Both sides of the coin truly believe that they hold the moral high ground and that the opposition is either deluded, stupid, or downright evil. Of course we all have views and we would be remiss if we did not express them and attempt to convince others of their validity. But while we are speaking our minds, we should be mindful that we always treat the views of others with respect and consideration. Regardless of their views, the vast majority of American voters think that they are doing the right and good thing for their country.
I don't really think it will make much difference who wins. The biggest current threat to the world is climate change and no American president will address this until it is too late.
Americans will still buy SUVs instead of fuel efficient cars, will brag about how much fuel it consumes and yet will complain when the world's cheapest gasoline goes up by 1 cent a gallon.
Dave Millen, Welwyn Garden City
I agree with views expressed in the Spanish newspaper El Pais on Saturday. The USA cannot afford to re-elect Bush. There will be such a feeling of resentment and astonishment amongst vast numbers of people of the world, that the damage could be enormous for the country. It is also true though that many Americans appear oblivious to this danger. Kerry contrasts starkly to Bush; he appears to be an internationalist (much like Clinton) who tries to use diplomacy to defuse potentially disastrous events before they become actual disasters.
Vince Smeaton, Hornchurch, London
I am astounded by the number of people in this column that actually still believe that Bush will be 'tough on terror'. Toughness and arrogance are not the same thing.
Under the cover of fear and the rhetoric of evil, Bush and his supporters are fast shaping the 'war on terror' into what is essentially a religious and ideological conflict, the like of which the world has never seen. I hope for the entire world's sake that Kerry wins.
David O, Amersham, UK
I am a young American woman (20), and I also have a chronic neuromuscular disease. Quite possibly the most ridiculous thing that Bush has done is completely ignore the "sick" vote. I'm not talking about people who got the flu this year; I am talking about people who may benefit from stem cell research. Seeing how one in three people are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and many other people are caretakers of the chronically ill, it is difficult to understand how this demographic could be completely ignored in every poll.
For us, religious or war issues take a backseat to what we are facing daily. When Nancy Reagan begins to beg Republicans to change their stance, this should worry the Bush campaign as they see how powerful an issue this really is. I think this is going to be a bigger issue than anyone ever expected.
Val, San Jose, CA, USA
I am still undecided, the deceptive campaigning has made it difficult to decide and so I will decide at the last minute.
Paul, Coldwater, Michigan, US
The redskins lost on Sunday. Since 1933 the Sunday before the election if they win the sitting president wins, if they lose the other guy wins. Go packers 28-14.
Matt, Eau Claire, WI, USA
I trust the American voters to select the best person for the job. I hope that their selection will be based on their personal considerations and that they will not be influenced by foreign advisors who are driven by their own ideology and self interest.
America needs a new President, any new President, who can, and is willing to, open up alternative solutions to the Iraqi situation that are denied to Bush because of his past rhetoric and actions. Bush can no longer provide the solution, he is tainted.
Julian Cooper, UK
Bin Laden just got Bush re-elected. He doesn't understand the American political landscape. The new tape is the worst thing that could have happen to the Kerry campaign.
Brad K, USA
I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that this election will also be decided by the Supreme Court. Should that be the case, democracy in this country is an exercise in futility since the courts and not the people have the final say in the electoral process. This is the "democracy" we want to export to the third world? If it were not so sad, it would be funny.
Bush will win by a lot - more then people think he will. I mean how many people do you know who are Pro-Kerry? Most people who are voting for Kerry are anti-Bush. I don't know anyone who has ever won an election that way. Sorry Europe, you got 4 more years of W.
Mike Daly, Miami, FL - USA
In response to Jane Trevillino of Cherry Island, NJ who will vote for Mr Bush because he "is an honest man who says what he means". Mr Bush says what a small army of analysts and lawyers tell him to say, it is incredibly naive in the current US environment ruled by billion dollars defence contracts and corporate-kick-backs to believe that a President could actually freely say what they believe? I am constantly astounded when I see US voters being manipulated by the media and campaign managers, yet always being reassured with the old clichés of 'freedom of speech' and '200 years of democracy'. It is frightening for the rest of the world to look on and feel absolutely powerless while a bunch of people are coerced and fooled into making a decision that may return a man to power who could devastatingly affect the rest of the world and further unhinge global relations and security.
George, New Zealand
Americans watch the polls in hopes our fellow countrymen will come to their senses and oust this man.
Tina Brooks, Clearwater, Florida USA
I am Japanese and strongly wish that Democrat candidate Mr Kerry will win the election. Apparently, both President Bush and Japanese Ministry Mr Koizumi are willing to enact war. By having good relations with President Bush, Mr Koizumi is likely to join the war, breaking the 9th clause Japanese constitution. A Japanese man was killed yesterday, after being in captivity by terrorists in Iraq. I believe Mr Kerry could stabilize the world conditions now.
Orie Yamato, Kyoto Japan
What I have come to notice is that this election, more than any other, is about "marketing." So many trustworthy and informed people from within the Bush administration or with international experience have been telling us the truth and contradicting Bush. But few have listened because we're told over and over that those are just "political attacks" and the more Bush repeats things, no matter how absurd, the more they are believed. I wondered how so many Americans can have distorted views and came to realize that it's the President's pulpit and unabashedly partisan news like Fox News. Bush has achieved one feat: he has ruined, in only 4 years, the credibility and respect that it took previous Presidents decades to earn for the U.S.
Haitham Abul, Kuwait City, Kuwait
For Japan, definitely President Bush is the favourite. For China and North Korea, Kerry is the one who can indirectly support their policy lines.
F Nakamura, Johor Bharu, Malaysia
I've read with amusement all the opinions from around the world on who should be the next President of the USA. It's amusing because none of them care about what's best for us. They're only interested in what's best for them which is to weaken America. Keep this in mind as you make your decision. The Europeans have their opinions, the Arabs have their opinions, and even Bin Laden has an opinion. Listen to the only opinion that counts - yours.
Josh, Orlando, Florida, USA
The Bush gang has run a successful campaign by selling fear and by smearing Kerry. But it should be clear for any educated person regarding who to pick on Nov 2: Bush has failed in any task given to him in the past 3 1/2 years except retaining that innocent but stupid look. On the other hand, Kerry has the experience need for the job, and more importantly he has shown to the Americans he has also the heart and integrity to stand up to fight for its country when the time comes.
Bill, Hong Kong
It scares me that the leader of the free world will be elected by such a small margin - and by only 4.5% of the world's population. The President of the United States may be the leader of that country, but his decisions affect every person on the globe.
Carly, Auckland, New Zealand
Bush will unfortunately win the election and therefore chaos and havoc will be inflicted to the rest of the world for at least four more years by the US. Attacking innocent nations in a name of peace is the grand game plan of this administration. I cannot believe that this guy is going to be re-elected after all he has done over-seas. This clearly shows that majority of the voters is US don't have a slightest clue about what is going on in the outside world. If Bush is re-elected, US will continue making more enemies than destroying them. Like USAMA in his newest statement said to the American public: "The security is in your own hands". With the foreign politics executed in the way it is done decades by the US, the number of enemies will just keep growing. I too would be angry if the "coalition" came to Finland and started to run my life. Lucky me, we don't have any oil in our country...
Veli-Matti Rahja, Kotka Finland
I think that America is in trouble. Which man will fix America? I don't know, but I do know which man will not. George Bush has led this country into an unwanted war, an enormous national deficit, and awful relations with the UN. To let this election come down to one single issue would be yet another American travesty. Those who say that they must vote for Bush as a religious duty are hurting the rest of the country by not looking at all of the issues.
Cari, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
I only we hope we get away from the false issue of patriotism defined as being with the president's jingoistic and unilateral world view. The old adage that 'patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel' seems to apply now. The president and vice-president grow ever more strident and are full of tricks trying to scare up Republican votes and scare away Democrats. What's really scary this Halloween is the staggering deficit, our jobs picture, and George Bush comparing himself to Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy.
Jay, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
As a twenty year old voting for the first time in the presidential election I am a more than a little upset with the candidates, and the system. We are told, "every vote counts", but in reality it is not true.
Brian, NY, USA
The two most important consequences of this election are the critical effects on (a) the US' (and consequently the world's) economy, and (b) America's relations with the rest of the world. If Bush wins, it is very likely that our deficits (government and trade) could become catastrophic. Bush is so devoted to tax cuts at any cost, it will drive up our budget deficit and weaken our economic strength in relation to China, Japan and the EU.
Regarding our relations with the world, if Bush's ignorant arrogance continues, it could very well push both Europe and Asia to move away from the US. I feel the US is losing its position of moral leadership in the world. If Europe and Asia turn away from us, there will be significant adverse consequences for all of us.
Jim Hopewell, Maryland, USA
I still think that the war on Iraq became the only way to put fear and limit the growing threat of terrorist bracing the world. Whatsoever, Bush is the deserved president to tidy up these evil-incarnate people and good enough to secure and atmosphere of fearlessness amongst the Americans. I foresee Kerry being less decisive and cannot pull the bull by the horn. May President Bush prevail as the elected president of the great nation USA. Only he is able to pull together all the resources of America to fight terrorism and ultimately he will pull the shores of America together in unity.
Etienne Nonso Kinsley, Dubai, UAE
Isn't the combination of religion and state favoured by Bush exactly what he condemns in many Middle Eastern countries? E.g. Iran.
I find it quite amazing that US$3.9 billon can be spent on elections alone, in a country which doesn't even have a public healthcare system.
Michel van den Berg, Bussum, The Netherlands
What about the third party candidates?
Libertarians, Greens, Nader?
Everyone cries about how Bush and Kerry are the same, you don't have to vote for either of them. If you can't bear to "waste your vote" for president, at least vote third party to build them up for next time.
Andre, Reseda, CA USA
This is to all those American citizens complaining about how dare the rest of the world even suggest which President you should choose or how to run the country. Now you are finally getting the message as to how other countries of the world feel when you try to run theirs!
The American style democracy is under microscope of the world. Such a bitterly fought election has brought up the pitfalls of the system. This election will probably be a selection by the Supreme Court. Isn't it a shame?
Salman, Staten Island, USA
The Republican and Democratic Parties are clearing houses for wealthy interest groups. Their platforms are laundry lists of inconsistent sell-outs. Their control of ballot access in the US is unconstitutional. And so, we Americans go to the polls and vote for two men who support pre-emptive war, who support the sale of civil liberties to corporate interests and cannot fathom the harm in explosive deficit spending. And many of us get mocked for being undecided. Go figure.
William Buller, Dexter, Michigan USA
Obviously the war and economy are most important. From an economic perspective the current admin has wiped out the biggest surplus and their economic policies are more geared towards special interests. This also is a very important election in that it defines which course US follows - ultraconservative, arrogance and disrespected or to more of a globally respected leader and country to look up to. The sad part is that a lot of people in the US do not realize that US is part of the world and to succeed we have to work with other countries to develop global solutions - not invade or threaten them all the time.
During the first presidential election in 1789, voters were lured to the polls with free whiskey. American presidential electioneering hasn't changed since then, for all intents and purposes. The US is made up of 50 individual states, each with its own laws, its own concerns, and its own way of doing things, and it's the states that elect the president. So yes, the American electoral system is unwieldy; yes, it's messy; yes, it's sordid and dirty and often painful and embarrassing to watch... and it has worked for over 200 years. Outside of the so-called Anglosphere, I can't think of another country that can say the same.
Melanie Willis, North Carolina, USA
To Melanie Willis, USA: You claim with pride that the US electoral system "has worked for 200 years". The last election was decided in the Supreme Court and the man who got the most votes in the country didn't win. Go figure.
Alan, Perth, Scotland
If the US election of 2000 had taken place in Sierra Leone, US observers would have ruled that election a travesty of what we laughingly call democracy. The world is very far from good in how it runs, but if Bush, via the most obvious tricks, is allowed to keep the presidency then any semblance of democracy vanishes and we have no true idea what that could mean in years to come.
Jeff, Fareham, UK
As a believer of Holy books, when John Kerry is supporting same-sex marriage, in spite of my respect for him as a real nice person, it is my religious duty that I must vote for Bush after his historic opposition to the God-condemned homosexuality. It is only people like George Bush who if gets another chance may legally ban such evils and could bring about such other long needed reforms in the best interest of the Nation.
Mohammad Najam, Houston. Texas
American politics is in a sorry state. It's more like a football match between bitter rivals. The election campaigns have nothing to do with the issues. The majority of voters know little of the issues, beyond the propaganda of their chosen party. The campaign strategy utilises character assassination and hundreds of millions of dollars in TV adverts. The politicians, especially Bush, pander to their supporters with swaggering jingoistic French bashing, liberal bashing, deficit spending, religion and fear mongering.
Steve, Anchorage, USA
It is incredibly frustrating to watch this upcoming election unfold. George W Bush is the most divisive president we have ever had, and John Kerry seems little better. I am against them both. Of course, it doesn't matter, because my 18th birthday is two days after the election. I'm not sure who I would vote for, even if I could. I will just have to (gulp) wait and see.
Peter Cardi, Denver, USA
Does it make any difference whether Bush or Kerry wins?
Undoubtedly, a lot of mistakes have been made under Bush.
Will it be better if Kerry wins?
It takes time to solve the many issues Americans, in particular, and citizens of the rest of the world, face.
Huang Siew Hock, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I really hope Kerry wins. Although the policies of both candidates with respect to Middle East are deeply partisan and not ambitious I feel a Kerry administration will fare better in dealing with future conflict. I can't even begin to think about Bush winning again - it will be depressing beyond words if the 'world's greatest democracy' selects such a man to represent them for four more years.
Nick Fraser, Jordan
I just paid $55 for TEN pills! $55! Better healthcare for the disabled is needed. More money to create jobs is needed here as well as better housing for seniors and low income people. Hopefully, whoever is elected will keep these needs in mind. A part of being "safe and secure" is remaining well and having a decent place to live.
As an Englishman living in the US and exposed to saturation coverage for the first time, these elections have stunned me. Both sides have been slandering each other for months, with outright lies, half-truths, and vicious personal attacks. Now with polling day approaching, the allegations of voter fraud and intimidation are emerging, such as the counties which have more registered voters than inhabitants. And now we hear that both sides are assembling thousands of lawyers ready to contest the results in court. And this is the democracy they're trying to export to the rest of the world?
Derek Holmes, Rhode Island, USA
Derek Holmes just said what I had wanted to say. When two millionnaires fight bitterly for the post of (arguably) "the most powerful man in the world", and ballot papers go missing, and registered voters´ names go missing from the list, they are making a mockery of the term "Democracy". Who are they trying to bluff?
Sarah John, Osnabrück, Germany
I am going to vote for President Bush because he is an honest man who says what he means and does what he says, not like Mr Kerry who waits for things to happen and says what he thinks the people want to hear. We need a leader not a follower. We are living in a world of hate and need someone who has a vision, not one who is an opportunist.
Jane Trevelino, Cherry Hill, NJ, USA
It will be a sad day if Bush is elected President. I'm one of the unemployed who wants to find work, yet my college education doesn't seem to be able to find me any work in my field. Bush's plan for fixing unemployment is to send me back to school... what else do I need to learn?... That Kerry is the choice for the Presidency.
Nick Bauer, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
I drove down a typical neighbourhood in my town in a heavily populated suburban area. Every other house had a campaign sign in the yard. Exactly half were for Kerry and half were for Bush. This was an average middle class neighbourhood, with houses that cost less than 200,000 US dollars. What struck me is that while Kerry and the Democrats claim they represent the middle class, obviously half the people on this street would disagree. It is going to be an interesting election indeed.
Dorothea, Newark, Ohio, USA
What a sad array of opinions posted in your column. I am a former Democrat happily and cheerfully voting for George Bush. Europe doesn't get it and never will. I say let's get back to the original intent of our constitution and tell Europe to quit their whining disapproval.
LG Suttile, Belvidere, NJ
I understand that much of the international community is interested in the result of the upcoming election. I think that it is unfair to say that the re-election of President Bush would be a slap in the face to the international community. Please understand that the election of the American President is about Americans. Many Americans, including myself, have pledged our support to President Bush because he has promised to put us first. As a nation, we do care about the opinions of our neighbours. Yet, this is our decision and we cannot and will not substitute anyone else's opinion for our own.
Ray De Mel, Los Angeles, CA
America is looking at a widening breach of faith in the most fundamental process of democracy...the vote. Politically driven lawsuits and the new and still faulty technology of electronic voting, if they produce any doubt about the true outcome of the vote, will lead to a time of peril for our Republic not seen since, perhaps, the Civil War. The election of 2004 is critical to the US. At this juncture, the failure of "good faith" may be lethal.
Jim Gregory, Warwick, Rhode Island, USA
I support Kerry and he has already gotten my vote. I was born in the US, my husband is from Iraq. Bush has had 4 years to prove himself and he has failed miserably.
I have had to use an emergency federal ballot, downloaded from the internet, since I received ANOTHER voter info pack instead of a ballot, despite having registered 2 years ago as a permanent overseas postal voter.
If the USA cannot run a competent election for its own citizens, we should not be invading Afghanistan and Iraq to show them what to do!
Magda, Oldham, UK
I'm voting for John Kerry because George Bush has destroyed America's standing and reputation throughout the world by his stubbornness and misleading info which took the country into a horrible war in Iraq that we simply cannot win. He is also intent on tampering with Social Security and limiting damage amounts in medical malpractice lawsuits. The nation as a whole is so heavily in debt now that no matter who gets into office this election, I don't think we will begin to see light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the USA being back in the black for at least 30 years. I'm a retired police officer, 43 years old and I cannot remember a time when the nation has ever been more divided than it is now on all fronts.
Harry, Binghamton, N.Y.
I'm not at all surprised the ballots in Florida have gone missing. My absentee ballot mysteriously never turned up either. As a registered Democrat in Texas, I'm hardly surprised. I wonder how many other Democrat ex-pats haven't received a ballot? I feel sad because it seems this election is rigged and the winner already decided. However, I got an emergency ballot and voted anyway. I hope my vote is counted.
Lisa, London (ex-Texas)
I beg all Americans to vote for Kerry. Bush and his administration have caused a disaster in the Middle East. Islamic fundamentalism is growing because of their aggressive foreign policy. I am from the region and I see this every day.
And...all the American soldiers are dying in Iraq for nothing.. absolutely nothing but ensuring oil and wealth to Bush and his cronies. Please vote for Kerry.
Abir Hanna, Lebanon
One of the more disturbing scenarios that may emerge (Bush's re-election being another), is the likely period of litigation that will follow the election. Once again, state or federal supreme courts will ultimately determine the election after a number of suits are filed in closely contested states. The result: the American electorate will become even more cynical towards our country's backward and heterogeneous electoral system.
Christopher, Memphis, USA
I am currently studying abroad in Madrid, and there is an incredibly high amount of anti-Americanism over here. I don't understand how can Bush feel that he is fighting a war against terror, when, because of his war and disrespect to our allies, there is more hostility towards America than there ever has been before.
Niki, New Mexico
I'm frankly tired of all the activists and advertisements aimed at increasing voter turnout. If you are well-informed and have given thoughtful consideration to the issues of the day, then by all means vote. As for couch potatoes? We're actually better off without their votes!
Kevin, Charlotte, NC, USA
The election seems to be plagued by problems already (lawsuits and missing ballot papers). If the mighty US can't get it right what chance does a Third World country have? And what legitimacy does the US have to monitor elections in other countries?
Windros Dulanya, Blantyre, Malawi
I feel that America to some extent is losing its identity. The more immigrants that come to our country the more we move towards a socialist type country. This is very disturbing to me since capitalism has been a very successful model in our history. What people need to recognize is that no-one in America is denied health care in a public hospital even though they may not have health insurance. The media never touches on this. We are a capitalist society that rewards people who work hard and obey the law. If you are poor in the USA it's your own fault.
Joe Lane, Vermont, USA
I am voting for John Kerry because he is a flip-flopper. It takes a mature mind to change one's position when you realize that you are wrong. Bush's steadfast leadership amounts only to stubbornness.
Rob, Aspen, Colorado
This is the most important election of my lifetime (60 years). The Bush administration has to be a disaster for my country and for the world. The Bush unilateral foreign policy is unforgivable and we are all less safe because of it. Only the very rich in this country are better off because of Bush. These are desperate times in America. Electing John Kerry is absolutely essential.
Deborah Rothschild, Houston, Texas, USA
I am a 27 year old Spanish/Sicilian gay American who is a registered Independent. I will be voting for Kerry not because I want to but because there are no better choices. I would have loved to have voted for either Al Sharpton, John McCain or Rudy Giuliani.
Andrew J Mateo, Jersey City, NJ, USA
The press fails to provide context and depth to the current American election. Kerry is not a leader; Bush is a leader who makes the world uncomfortable with his aggressiveness. I will vote for Bush, who has refused to accept the status quo and is driving overdue and painful change in a world that is dangerous and aggressive and has proven its ability to harm my country. Any student of history understands that to establish diplomatic credibility, you must provide actionable punishment those who intend to do you harm. All other issues pale to these fundamental truths.
David Graham, Austin, Texas, USA
The world is right to be interested, and in this case concerned, about US politics. And that the current US administration seems uninterested in the rest of the world's opinions or needs is an serious problem. I think Kerry will probably do more to resolve the current diplomatic crisis than Bush. To me, all other issues are secondary because we are ultimately one world now and our collective futures are linked.
Pablo, Sacramento, USA
It's getting nasty over here on this side of the pond and it is likely to get worse before the week is out. The ads, the rhetoric, the way the press is jumping on every minute piece of news is nothing like I've ever seen in a campaign before. The one good thing to come out of all of this? Americans are more engaged in the election process than ever before. We expect the highest voter turnout on record. Whoever wins, it will surely be a choice of the majority, even if the race is close. Personally, I'm expecting a surprise landslide.
Marilyn, Pittsburgh, USA
What is intriguing about this election is the electoral process itself, which has come to the forefront since the Bush-Gore contest four years ago. People are now more aware of the Electoral College which was very obscure in the last century, even though it was the mechanism by which presidents are actually elected. Most states have a winner-take-all system but some apportion the Electoral College votes according to the popular vote, a big difference. Voter registration and vote fraud are now strong issues, seeing that this election may be won by a couple hundred thousand votes. There will be a lot of discontent no matter who wins.
Jeremy, Atlanta, Georgia
The rest of the world hasn't learned what most Americans over the age of 50 or so know: that American politics will always let you down because the politicians promise more than what they can deliver. People tend to seek a beneficent, all-powerful, magical government that makes everything right. Theoretically most things could be "made right" but what's right for one person is wrong for another. These are human affairs and humans are very imperfect. You have to look at the big picture and not put all your eggs in one basket. The founding fathers were right in trying to design a limited government in the first place.
Chrisse, Houston, Texas
Whoever is elected President will be dealing with a very rapidly changing world. Economic wealth is shifting, instability and the resulting security threat is growing, an ever more "aware and educated" world community is demanding justice, equality, honesty, and fairness. America must eventually understand and accept that it has no choice, but to become a full and integral part of a global society. If we deal with these challenges with an open mind, America and the world will be a much better place for our children, but if not, we as well as the rest of the world are in for a "very rough" and dangerous ride. A new world is coming whether we like it or not and I just hope that whoever we elect as President understands this.
John, NJ, USA
Both candidates receive money from the same powerful interests, lobby groups and large corporate donors. Both candidates claim that they will be the better "defender of Israel". Neither candidate is willing to take on any real challenges. How will this election really change anything? Frankly, I'm disgusted at my country today. With candidates like these, it is clear that America's days as an influential world power are over.
Ralph Barbour, American in Australia
I'm going to vote for George W. Bush. If the terrorist hate him, then he's got my vote! I am astonished at the amount of hysteria humans can generate over President Bush. He must be doing something right! People can be very timid about bold moves, such as fighting terrorism.
Frankly it's a no-win situation for the world at large. While Bush is the lapdog of the oil and auto industries, Kerry dances to the tunes of the telecoms companies. The general public will continue to be irrelevant to whoever is the next incumbent of The White House.
Alex B, Cheltenham, UK
As a young voter, this will be the first national election I will be able to vote in... and I'm voting for John Kerry. Hailing from Texas, I watched my home state falter for six years and have now seen the country at its worst, for the past four years. National security is a huge issue in the United States, mostly because we now live in fear of the mess George W. Bush has made, for us and for others around the world. The issue most important to me is the nomination of Supreme Court justices - i.e. maintaining my civil rights. With John Kerry as president, I can be assured that rights as an American citizen will remain in tact for my children and their children.
Kelly Morrison, Bryn Mawr, PA, US
Bush is fighting a war on an idea. Terror is not tangible and a war against it will never end. Individuals can be stopped with bullets, but ideas and beliefs cannot. I truly believe that President Bush does not understand that, and it frightens me.
June Dale, Ottawa, Canada
This election will determine if the US continue to go it alone or rejoin the world community.
Bob, Minnesota, US
Bush is not the cause of our problems. WE are. It is easy (and lazy) to blame Bush or any other president for our problems. But the problems we face are a result of our own doing as individuals...usually a result of inaction. So quit whining and take a little bit of responsibility. Stop acting like a bunch of helpless victims.
November 2 is the most-important Elections ever in US history. It is a demanding one and the stakes are high. This election will re-define who they are and what they want. With days to voting, and an even clearer margin between both candidates, it is good news for the incumbent. Clinton joining Kerry at such a time is a highly persuasive move by the Democrats. His presence will make a great impact just days before the polls open. The time for change has come, and the fate of the world superpower is at stake this time.
Joseph Yarsiah, Monrovia, Liberia
The fact that the race is so close means either that Americans are evenly divided on the issues... or that there is not much difference between Bush and Kerry.
Robert Baruch, Rising Sun, Maryland, USA
This election will be neither fair nor balanced. The thousands of black voters unjustly removed from the voter rolls in 2000 are, for the most part, still unable to vote. There have been charges that voter registration groups have shredded the registration forms of Democratic voters, so when they get to the polls they will be denied their vote. Here in central Ohio, someone has been calling voters and telling them that their polling places have changed. This is not true, and will mean that voters will show up at the wrong place and not be allowed to vote.
Karyne K, Columbus, Ohio, USA