Voting absentee as an American-Canadian citizen

Voting is more important than ever

Casting your ballot is important, even if you feel removed.
Photo: 
I’ve always been proud of my American-Canadian dual citizenship. While I grew up in a small, Connecticut town, my summers were consumed by month-long visits to my grandparents’ cottage near Westport, Ontario. Christmas often meant travelling to Ottawa to see grandparents and cousins. 
 
Once I graduated high school, my Canadian citizenship meant I could attend a university with affordable tuition costs, unlike the University of Connecticut’s roughly $20,000 a year domestic tuition. I’m also eligible to work and enjoy free health insurance—a luxury the US continues to lack—through OHIP.
 
I’ve always been proud of my Canadian citizenship, but I don’t typically flaunt my American roots. Telling people where I come from is often met with a frozen smile, a look that quickly vanishes the moment I clarify, “I don’t support Donald Trump though!”
 
While I’ve leaned into my Canadian roots in Kingston, I still have significant ties to the States. Some of my closest friends are scattered across New England, and my parents continue to reside in my hometown. The upcoming presidential election may not affect me as significantly as if I were still living at home, but it will affect my loved ones in a big way.
 
I have no grievances saying outright that I don’t support President Donald Trump. Not just because I’m left-leaning, but because he’s probably America’s most unpresidential president to date. 
 
He lies every chance he gets, refuses to denounce white supremacy, spews racist rhetoric, has numerous sexual assault allegations to his name, and has refused time and time again to take responsibility for the mismanagement of coronavirus in the States.
 
Donald Trump isn’t only a danger to the United States, but a danger to democracy as we know it.
 
The Nov. 3 election is a turning point for my home country. If Trump gets re-elected, it’ll affect the way coronavirus and a potential vaccine are managed in 2021 and beyond. Not only will my parents’ health be affected by this—especially in the case of my dad, who is high-risk for the virus—it will also affect my dad’s architecture firm, a small business that has already been negatively affected by Trump’s failures. 
 
Joe Biden certainly isn’t my first pick for president—but he far exceeds the alternative. 
 
Living in Canada for the past three years has distanced me, in part, from many of the social issues occurring in the States. 
 
During my first year at Queen’s, many of my friends back home attended marches against gun violence. Considering I attended middle school a town over from the Sandy Hook shooting, gun violence is an issue I feel a particularly strong connection to. Even though Canada provided a refuge of sorts from the countless school shootings in the States, I longed to be home, participating in those marches and taking a stand against the US government’s utter refusal to fully commit to gun control measures.
 
Being in Canada as this election unfolds gives me a similar helpless feeling—though I’m reassured I can still vote, even from so far away. 
 
In September, I was quick to secure an absentee ballot. Even though Connecticut is almost always a blue, democrat-leaning state, I know I’ve done my part to hopefully remove Trump from office by voting.
 
If you’re a dual citizen who hasn’t yet voted absentee, I implore you to do so as soon as possible. It’s not too late—in many states, ballots postmarked Nov. 3 will still be counted, though this varies state to state. If you’re unsure how to vote absentee, visiting Vote.org is a great place to start.
 
I know that, should Trump get re-elected and the States falls to utter anarchy, I have a home in Canada. But that doesn’t mean this election won’t affect my closest loved ones, or the countless Americans I grew up around. 
 
This election is far bigger than me. As an American citizen, I feel I have a 
duty to vote absentee. If you’re an American, you do, too.
 

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