NEWS -- While this election is different in many ways because of the pandemic, for those voting for the first time in a provincial election, this is an exciting day.

Iryna Matsiuk cast her ballot for the first time in a provincial election. She moved from Ukraine to Saskatoon ten years ago and says, the process to become a Canadian citizen was a long one, but was official two years ago. She says her voice matters here and doesn’t take that for granted. Matsiuk thinks the democratic process here is quite different than what she experienced in her home country.

“The biggest difference for me is the transparency and process is more straightforward. Overall, I have my full trust in the people who are in the parties and more than I would in some other countries where unfortunately they are known for corruption,” Matsiuk told CTV News.

Matsiuk took advantage of the advance polls — not an option in Ukraine, where she says voters have to wait in line for hours in most cases.

Her decision to use advance polls and avoid large crowds was a popular choice for many others in the province this time around.

The number of people who used advance polls doubled according to Saskatchewan’s Chief Electoral Officer Dr. Michael Boda. He also says, the number of requests for mail-in ballots rose from 4000 in 2016 to 60,000 this time. It won’t be known until the official count comes in how may actually used the mail-in option.

This difference in the number of people voting outside of the usual election day timeframe means the only votes that will be counted tonight are from advance polls, votes cast today and those from care homes.

For first-time voter Matsiuk, it’s an honour to be a part of the democratic process and she appreciates the straightforwardness.

“Where I come from in Ukraine you usually go through the long list of candidates and can be quite confusing, I find that only having several parties to vote for is simpler but maybe a bit more difficult because you think maybe there's not enough choices.”

She’s from the capital city of Kyiv which has about three million people and says candidates don’t go campaigning door to door which she appreciated here.