London, England – The energy around the Consular Section of the Venezuelan Embassy in London is beyond expectations, with Venezuelan flags everywhere after an exciting day of voters coming out to express their hope for a new direction for the country. It is now midnight in London (7:00 pm EDT/ 6:30 pm in Caracas) and hundreds of Venezuelans are still here waiting to make sure that every vote cast is being fairly and accurately counted.
For me and many others, the day started at 7:00 am as I was responsible for conducting exit poll interviews. After eight hours of speaking with Venezuelan voters, the choice was clear: of 150 voters interviewed, all except for five people said they had voted for Henrique Capriles.
But even though the voting process was successful, the situation now is one of concern and anguish among voters. A notice from the Consejo Nacional Electoral (National Electoral Council—CNE) changed the rules so that the votes from abroad will now not be counted at the same time as the votes in Venezuela. This new measure is of concern to London electors since that means that votes will now not be counted until the early morning. Unless we can stay up all night watching the ballot boxes, the ballots may not be subjected to uninterrupted third-party oversight.
Therefore vote counters have decided to stay just outside the consulate to be ready for when the CNE permits the process to begin.
Even though the crowd is tired and the results will not be heard until tomorrow morning, all who still remain here say they will continue to do so to “both safeguard their votes and keep supporting each other, even if it takes all night long.”
Mariana Marval is a guest blogger to AQ Online. She is a Venezuelan mass media communications graduate and musical theater performer who has lived in London, United Kingdome, for the past three years.