BANNING, Calif. - "I've been thinking about it a lot. I'm just excited. I'm really excited to go," said Debbie Matloff, a Banning resident who will vote for the first time on election day.
It will be the first time she can vote as a U.S. citizen.
"I wanted to be involved. I wanted to vote. I wanted to have a say," Matloff said.
Up until six weeks ago, Matloff was a Canadian. She was sworn in -- along with more than 3,000 other immigrants -- during a ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
"Afterwards, we were just kind of there holding hands. Then we hugged each other and were so excited -- we did it, we made it," Matloff said.
Right away, Matloff told residents at the Sun Lakes retirement community in Banning where she's taught fitness classes for 17 years.
"She was very, very proud. We were hoping she could become a citizen right in time to vote. And then we all wore fancy red, white and blue things and had flags to celebrate," said student Linda Vieira.
Matloff's family moved from Canada to the United States more than 40 years ago. But her path to citizenship was not easy.
"My mom had gone through and was an American after living here five years, but she forgot to include her kids -- which was me," laughed Matloff.
Matloff said the process and the paperwork discouraged her in the past, but she finally did it.
"I don't know what it's going to feel like (to vote). I don't even know what it looks like inside. I don't know how to work the machines. But I'm excited to go there and learn," she said.
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