Description 60 - Vote Early, Vote Often

Two countries, two elections, two advance polls, two sets of dorky commercials and two chances for me to screw something up (which I do). Features music by Laura Barrett, golf pencils and defiant envelope-licking.

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Associated links
The previous election episodes: Description 11 and Description 26
Elections Canada
Conservative Party of Canada (boo!)
Liberal Party of Canada
New Democratic Party of Canada
Bloc Québécois
Green Party of Canada

Earth SciencesLaura Barrett
"Deception Island Optimists Club" (mp3)
from "Earth Sciences"
(Paper Bag Records)

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Stream from Rhapsody
Buy at Amazon MP3
More On This Album

(that up there is the snazzy thing IODA has me do.)
Other Laura Barrett links: @myspace, @CBC Radio 3 and @Zunior
Federal Voting Assistance Program
The Democratic Party
Republican National Committee (boo!)
Ashtabula County Board of Elections
Presque Isle Downs

The Congressional candidate I voted for is named Bill O'Neill, not Dick O'Neill. Maybe I had too much dickishness on the brain after watching all this U.S. election stuff for a few days. >;-)

There was a lot of editing in both of those election scenes. Voting in Canada took about 15 minutes, while voting in the States took about a half hour. Listening back to the one in Jefferson, I think I sounded like a bit of a jerk, not just laying out my whole situation right off and later sticking in that thing about getting the wrong ballot in the mail previously. But then when I did get around to explaining, the woman at the counter was shaking her head through the whole thing. So I guess we both loosened up.

Now for crossing the border. Since I sold my car in the spring (more on that in another episode), and I'd be home longer than would be thrifty for a rental, I took the bus to Buffalo, then caught another one to Erie, where I'd be picked up. At the U.S. border at the Peace Bridge, the passengers get off the bus, go through the immigration part, then pick up any luggage they have and go through the customs part. Even getting to the point of getting off the bus took about an hour in line, which I later learned was a result of not only neglecting to bring in more staff for a long weekend (in Canada), but deciding it was a good time to bring on trainees.

Once I got to an immigration person, I gave her my one-way bus ticket (since Dad was having surgery, I wasn't sure when I'd be able to travel back up) and my Canadian passport which says I was born in Cleveland, U.S.A.

"Do you have an American passport?" she asked.

When I said no, she gave me one of those lectures-trying-not-to-sound-like-a-lecture saying that a Canadian passport listing my birthplace in the U.S. is not good enough proof of my U.S. citizenship, and that and a one-way bus ticket does not prove I have the means to go back to Canada. She was letting me off this time (you can feel a finger wagging, can't you?), but suggested next time I also bring my birth certificate, so I could have what she termed as "the best of both worlds" and be questioned as an American.

Thing is, a U.S. birth certificate doesn't prove my citizenship any more than the designation in my passport does - it only proves I was born there, not that I've retained my citizenship since then. Of course I didn't tell her that, or question whether she thought my Canadian passport could be bogus. I just smiled, nodded, thank-you'd and shuffled off to my suitcase, which went through customs very easily. This gave me the chance to sit in the bus for another hour as my multicultural brethren went through. The last of them was part of a small group of women (one of whom was in front of me in line) who were dual citizens like me...only they happened to be Canadian and Iranian, which meant they had to fill out a separate form. I guess it was some "Axis of Evil" form, which so far, we Canadians don't have to fill out yet.

And with that in mind, we Canadians humbly remind we Americans to please vote November 4th - or anytime before that...
GoVoteAbsentee.org / learn how to vote absentee!

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