Before I sent off my absentee ballot last week - which I carried in my suitcase to Newark Airport because I thought it was too important a document for Royal Mail - I jotted down the names of all the candidates and political parties.
I have a personal obsession with what being a Democrat and what being a Republican means to Americans.
In my 'on the street conversations' so far this week I've heard people say they have been a Republican all their lives, or have been a Democrat all their lives, which suggests that for some, their political party has been inherited from their parents or grandparents. For others no doubt it is a conscious choice.
But each election year I am always reminded of the other political parties in America that are active enough to have their names printed on the ballot.
Where are the supporters of these parties? The only person I have come across who is registered as something other than Democrat, Republican or Independent is my brother Jordan. See what he says below - please note the sound recording levels were too high, so you might want to turn down the audio on your computer before hitting 'play'.
Populist - Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez
Libertarian - Bob Barr and Wayne A. Root
Green - Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente
Democrat - Barack Obama and Joe Biden
Working Families - Barack Obama and Joe Biden
Republican - John McCain and Sarah Palin
Conservative - John McCain and Sarah Palin
Independence - John McCain and Sarah Palin
Socialist Workers - Roger Calero and Alyson Kennedy
Socialism and Liberation - Gloria La Riva and Eugene Puryear
I am sure Wikipedia would help anyone interested in finding out more about any of these candidates or parties.
WHAT IS A LIBERTARIAN?
In the words of my brother Jordan, 24, small business owner
WILL JORDAN VOTE FOR BOB BARR?