Published: 15:03, 07 April 2021
| Updated: 15:53, 07 April 2021
Flocks of Bulgarian nationals took to the streets on Easter Sunday to vote.
Hundreds queued at the Agrico Workforce recruitment agency building in Luton Road, Chatham, to have their say in the parliamentary poll.
Every Bulgarian citizen has the right to vote regardless of where in the world they live, and Chatham is home to the only polling station in Kent.
This itself is a new development - because following Brexit the Bulgarian government enacted a law limiting the number of polling stations in a non-EU country to 35.
The site has been used as a polling station for Bulgarian elections in previous years. The nearest other one is in Barking, London.
Chatham resident George Atzev, 18, born and raised in the UK by Bulgarian parents, said: "I think it's great to shine some light on this, as not many knew this was possible.
"It was a parliamentary election which was widely seen as a referendum on the current government after months of anti-government protests, accusations of endemic corruption and amid a surge in coronavirus infections.
"This year, there was a record-breaking number of Bulgarians abroad who voted in the elections.
"There have been polling stations abroad as far back as I can remember, and there isn't postal/phone/internet voting available as an option so it wasn't unusual to voters to have polling stations.
"It's quite a rarity as most countries stick to formats such as postal voting these days.
"Although many feared a very low turnout due to coronavirus anxiety and the absence of postal or proxy voting, participation was higher than expected.
The polling station opened at 7am and closed at 9pm, an hour later than usual due to the exceptional demand.
"The queue was orderly and you can see that all are waiting in groups of less than six. It was all within the Covid-19 guidelines," George added.