Nantucket’s Bulgarian Population Votes In Their Country’s Election From The Island

Members of Nantucket’s Bulgarian community voted in their home country’s presidential election over the past two weekends, with a makeshift poll station set up at the Nantucket Historical Association’s Whaling Museum on Broad Street. 

Island resident Bisy Stancheva was the chair of the Bulgarian island voting committee along with Lyubo Lyubenov and Dobri Sultanov. Over the past two Sundays when voting was held, Stancheva said a total of 132 votes were cast by Bulgarians living on Nantucket. 

“This has been an exhausting year for Bulgarian voters, as we’ve had more elections held this year than ever before so the voters are tired of voting,” Stancheva said. “The top voted parties have been struggling to form a cabinet each time – the spring and summer elections. Hopefully the third time is the charm.”

After less than half of the country’s voters took part in the Nov. 14th election, voting took place again last Sunday when Bulgarian President Rumen Radev won a second term in office, running on an anti-corruption campaign. 

“For every Bulgarian, we don’t lose our Bulgarian citizenship,” Stancheva said. “I think it’s amazing because in Massachusetts there’s quite a few (Bulgarian voting) sections. In Boston, on Cape Cod and in Hyannis. We’re lucky to have gotten together and organized ourselves to get one.”

There are currently 50 island children enrolled in the non-profit Bulgarian Education Center on Nantucket, and Stancheva estimates that 400 to 500 former Bulgarian nationals now live on the island year-round.

“I feel very lucky to be able to vote in both elections, we are very connected,” Stancheva said. “This is my home, but to keep our culture and language and keep our kids learning, this is important. It’s very special.”

She thanked the NHA for hosting the voting station free of charge.

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