Woman shot dead in voting queue in Venezuela

Fresno residents stand in solidarity with Venezuela protesters

Fresno residents stand in solidarity with Venezuela protesters

Maduro, who has refused to step down, also has called his own vote later this month to elect the special assembly.

Venezuela "sent a clear message to the national executive and the world", Central University of Venezuela President Cecilia Garcia Arocha announced, noting that 6,492,381 voted in the country and 693,789 overseas.

"With 95 percent of the votes counted we have 7,187,170 voters who participated", she said, adding that 6.4 million of the votes were in the country while 693,789 Venezuelans cast their ballots overseas.

The proposed constitution is deeply unpopular as it would effectively give Maduro the power to dissolve all government bodies, including the opposition-packed National Assembly.

The opposition called backers to 2,000 sites across the country to fill out ballots featuring three yes-or-no questions.

The opposition has called on the government to call off the July 30 election of members of a constituent assembly which has the power to change the constitution as well as the country's political system.

The turnout is slightly smaller than the 7.7 million people who voted for opposition candidates at the 2015 parliamentary elections.

The decision was reversed amid global outcry but unleashed a wave of protests that has left more than 80 people dead and thousands more injured and detained.

The simulation on Sunday was supervised by the Venezuelan military, with soldiers deployed to ensure there are no acts of violence at all elections.

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Maduro's government on Sunday also held an electoral event - essentially a trial run of the upcoming Constituent Assembly.

Venezuelans living overseas were also given a chance to vote, with impromptu stations in the US, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Columbia - all popular destinations for the ever increasing number of refugees fleeing the crisis in Venezuela.

"I thought it was going to be more", said Mariela Arana, a 56-year-old school counselor. Do they want the armed forces to back congress?

The opposition's poll had the support of numerous current and former world leaders, including Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and former Mexican President Vicente Fox, whom Venezuela banned from returning to the country on accusations he promotes violence and political intervention.

Late Sunday, the prosecutor-general issued a statement stating that a shooting at the town of Catia had killed the 61-year-old Xiomara Scott and three others outside a voting center.

Separately, journalist Luis Olavarrieta was kidnapped, robbed and beaten by what he said was a a group of government supporters, but managed to escape.

"So for us it's binding", Di Giovanni says, "and we are following the constitution".

In an attempt to further undermine the opposition, Maduro's government held its polls, labeling them simulations for the July 30 referendum.

Colombia has dealt with rising tensions and a growing number of people crossing the border from Venezuela as the crisis in the oil-rich country deepened.

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