As Americans head to the polls, there are few new faces casting ballots for the very first time.
Newly minted dual-citizens Gisele Olivier, Garibelle Balolia and Victor Tytler are all voting in their first U.S. presidential election.
Olivier and Balolia got their citizenship in September, just in time for Tuesday’s election.
“It's nice to have been able to vote,” said Balolia. "When I lived in Canada, I always felt my political views were conservative – I’ve always been very pro-business – but living here in the United States, I feel very, very liberal.”
When it comes to the current presidentail candidates, Balolia said she wasn't "overly thrilled with either option." In the end, after contemplating how divided the country has become and her hope of improved relations between the U.S. and Canada, Balolia decided on Biden.
"I'm sure my in-laws won't be happy," she said.
Balolia said the COVID-19 numbers aren’t that bad in Bellingham, and hopes whoever is elected will have a better dialogue with Canada.
“And maybe we can look at reopening the border," she added.
Olivier also got her citizenship in September, and said she registered to vote on the same day.
She said she’s already been summoned for jury duty and has applied for a passport. When she got her ballot in the mail, she said it felt "kind of surreal.”
“There was 19 candidates that was state, you know, there was one federal, there was a bunch of advisory committee votes, there was also a referendum vote,” said Olivier. "It took a long time to go through it all.”
She said she's looking for a sense of respect in the presidency.
“I feel sad on the one had that it’s gotten to this point but I feel also optimistic that we have an opportunity to make a change and protect democracy,” Olivier told CTV News. "The point of a democracy is to be able to have your own ideas and then be not fearful and just be respected for those differences.”
Tytler has been a citizen for a few months longer, but is now quarantining in Canada and waiting to see his family. Before leaving the U.S., he made sure to cast his ballot.
“It felt good to do it,” he said. “I hope this election brings about a change that will never happen again like this. I think it’s that serious.”
Not shy about telling CTV News he’s voting for Joe Biden, Tytler said he hasn’t appreciated Donald Trump’s comments about the military, the “out and out lying” and his plans to get rid of Obamacare.
“In Canada we’re pretty complacent,” he said. "We take health care for granted, we’ve had it for so long.”
He also talked about the border restrictions, and despite not being able to be with his mother when she died, Tytler believes it should stay that way. “I really believe Canada’s doing the right thing to preserve the public, something [Trump] didn’t do down there.”
In comparing the Canadian system to the American one, Tytler said he's had a change of heart and believes things are better north of the border.
"A whole party just blindly following the leader off a cliff kind of thing, I don’t think you’d ever see that in Canada," he said.