Jennifer April and Michael Matich's front lawn in Burnaby, B.C., has recently hosted an assemblage of voters eager to fulfill their civic duties — to the country south of the border.
For years, the married retired nurse and chartered accountant have watched U.S. presidential elections unfold from afar, listening to the talking heads on network television and reading about each candidate's gaffes and foibles. April, who is from Delaware, would have liked Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to receive the Democratic nomination because she thinks "he didn't have anything to hide." Matich, who is Canadian-born and -bred, admitted that "American politics is just so much more fun."
During U.S. elections, Matich and April often have friends and family over to watch the results and feed them cookies decorated with the symbols of the two major political parties. This year, they took the tradition one step further: They set up a makeshift polling station on their front lawn and invited neighbors to cast their votes.
On the left side of the walkway, there is a Clinton-Kaine sign. On the right, Trump-Pence. Both sides are also equipped with markers and a board on which passersby can declare their allegiances.
The race is not at all close, at least not in this Canadian suburb. Matich and April said in a phone interview Tuesday that Hillary Clinton has more than 50 votes. A few days ago, someone scribbled "Harambe" onto the ballot, and the deceased gorilla has since garnered eight votes. Donald Trump, by comparison, has seven.
Although Matich and April are surprised by the response that their polling station has gotten — at all hours, people can be seen on their lawn taking photos with the signs — the results don't give them pause.
"We're Canadians," Matich said. "Americans say to me, 'You Canadians, you're all pinkos.' In Canada, we generally swing more to the left than to the right, as compared to the States."
But Trump has not been completely dismissed in Burnaby. One night, the couple answered the door for a man who said he had driven from neighboring Vancouver, about a half-hour away.
"I came to vote!" he said, pulling a Trump 2016 button from his pocket. "I drove here to vote in your election! I'm a Trump man. I spent 30 bucks and bought Trump socks."
The couple did not ask the man how he chose his candidate. They prefer to remain neutral. April, who is voting absentee, said she is still undecided. She is hoping the answer will become clear after the presidential debates.
Matich, who pronounces GOP as "gawp" and is perplexed by U.S. "college electoral votes" and super PACs, said he is still trying to understand it all. Canadians elect their leaders in much shorter time — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign lasted 11 weeks, which many Canadians considered too long — and with far less fanfare.
"It has always amazed me how much Canadians are enamored with U.S. politics," April said. "They talk more about the U.S. than they do their own politics."
These days, Canada has also slipped into the political conversation in America, where many have pledged to move north if their desired candidate loses. Trudeau, who is young and liberal, is often described as Trump's antithesis.
Matich and April plan to keep their polling station open until real votes are cast Nov. 8, at which point they will remove the placards on the losing side and adorn the winning candidate's sign with balloons.