Many of us still remember the long queues that formed in the British capital during last year's first parliamentary elections. Similar activity is observed there today, as there are also many Bulgarians who went to the polling stations for the first time and did not fill out a preliminary application for voting, which is no longer mandatory anyway. The Bulgarian diaspora in England is among the largest in Europe and the desire of people to actively participate in the processes currently taking place in Bulgaria remains great. The organization and conducting of the elections is mainly done by emigrants, who on a voluntary basis rent halls for the elections and receive the voters until the end of the election day.
Among the most visited polling stations also this time is the one in Hemel-Hempstead, a town where hundreds of Bulgarians live. It is located in a hotel, and the new thing is that, for the first time, voting is done here by machine. According to members of the electoral commission, interest in the elections has been growing since the beginning of the day, and even around noon there was a small queue in front of the polling station.
The machine voting facilitates and speeds up the work, say Krasimira Nikolova and Miroslav Ivanov, who were a team in the same polling station last year and have now gladly agreed to organize the elections again:
"Last year, our polling station set a kind of record in the district, because 330 people voted here, while there were only 59 registered in advance”, Krasimira Nikolova tells us. “That's why a machine was delivered to us this year. A person from the company that services the device has arrived, everything is fine and the voters are handling the machine voting easily. By noon, about 110 people had voted with us. Many of the people who come today were also in the previous elections in the polling station. We have put up a sign for the new people, everyone is in a good mood, the elections are going smoothly and hopefully it will be like that until the end of the day. Otherwise, I, and I think most Bulgarians, are voting for a better Bulgaria. This can be seen from this activity today, everyone comes with great hope, hopefully they will not be lied to once again. I want one day to return to this Bulgaria that I have left behind, even better, but that again depends on the active citizenship position of the people."
"The reason we are again early in the election day in the polling station is our hope for a better future for Bulgaria, this makes us help in the organization of these elections as well," says Miroslav Ivanov.
The failures in governance after last year's elections have not disillusioned our compatriots there, quite on the contrary.
"But hopefully we won't see any more such wrong moves in the state governance. We do everything, we want to be as useful as possible for Bulgaria, we expect a better future for our children. That's why I vote every time. My son is in Bulgaria and I want him not to emigrate, but to find the meaning in staying there. This is my greatest desire. We have been here for many years, but we always feel foreign, we will never feel at home abroad. And the stone weighs in its place, as a nice Bulgarian proverb goes. You truly comprehend the meaning when you leave Bulgaria."