The second round of municipal elections will be held on June 28, three and a half months after the first round. The candidates who are still running will need to campaign without going to the voters, who will be encouraged to vote by proxy.
Campaign at a distance, voting by proxy or in the voting booth with mask: the modern for the campaign for the second round of municipal elections and the vote held June 28 must be adapted to the health context. Fear of the new corona virus and a minimum campaign raises fears of a new record stoppage in the 5,000 municipalities still affected – the 30,000 municipal councils elected in the first round will be in place by Thursday.
In the first round, which was held on March 15, just two days before the confinement began due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the closure rate increased to 54.5%. A record for this type of election since the start of Ve Republic.
Therefore, in order to avoid a new controversy, the decision to organize the second round at the end of June is far outweighed by the execution. The fun campaign can begin.
- Organize a campaign remotely
The election campaign must not become “a factor in virus circulation” and “it is therefore advisable to campaign differently”, warned Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, citing “the systematic respect for barrier guests” and “must prioritize digital campaigns”.
Candidates will therefore need to campaign without meeting, without going to the markets and without going door to door. Instead, they should both revert to traditional techniques such as “calling” (massive phone call campaign to targeted voters) while focusing on a digital campaign.
The election campaign should not be a factor in virus circulation: it will therefore be advisable to campaign differently.
In the same way, the voting operations must be organized in such a way that the voters, judges and storytellers get health. pic.twitter.com/7Y5Xyk059O
– Christophe Castaner (@CCastaner) May 22, 2020
In Paris, the candidates can consult the registration register in the prefecture to find out the identity of those who abstain. “We then crossed this information with our member files to know who to call specifically,” explains France 24 Agnès Evren, head of the list Les Républicainsdans le 15e City.
“We will call voters one by one to convince them to vote or issue a representative if they are afraid to move,” the candidate added. “I’m afraid the second round will be worse than the first in terms of abstaining. At least that will be the key to the vote.”
In addition to telephone calls, candidates must rely on a strong online presence. Campaign teams will need to adapt to add to the digital team and produce images that can capture attention at first glance.
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Will this distance campaign replace the seduction game usually run by the candidates? “Fortunately, this is a second round campaign and not a first round, admits Agnès Evren. Usually, we manage to convince voters by talking directly to them face to face. A matter of feeling. There we have to do without.”
To cope with the increased costs of this extraordinary campaign, the ceiling for reimbursement of campaign costs will be increased by 20%, announced on May 24 Christophe Castaner.
“The official campaign starts on June 15, but everything that has been started, including since the first round and until today, must be included in the campaign account,” said the interior minister. “We will raise the ceiling for reimbursement of expenses by 20%.
- Masks in polling stations
About June 16.5 million voters are called to travel on June 28 to about 5,000 municipalities to elect the municipal council.
“All necessary steps will be taken to ensure the health of all,” assured Christophe Castaner, referring, as in the first instance, to “barrier gestures or physical distance.”
For added security, “every voter” should wear “a protective mask, use their own pen to register and handle their identity documents themselves,” he added, adding that masks will be provided. free for voters who do not have one.
- Facilitating the Ombudsman’s vote
Faced with the risk of a strong downturn, which already reached 56% in the first round, the CEO announced that he wanted to facilitate proxies, the system that an absent or prevented voter can choose another voter to vote on his behalf. The power of attorney must be established by an authorized authority (court, police station …).
The Senatorial Majority (LR centrist) announced the law on a bill that allows, on June 28, a voter to have two agents, against only one currently, a proposal also made by the Association of Elected Officials of Large Cities in France.
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The possibility of opening proxies for persons not residing in the same municipality was also proposed.
“We will do everything possible to facilitate the collection of proxies”, has already promised Christophe Castaner, citing “an organization adapted for Ehpad and, for the most vulnerable, the opportunity to bring a judicial police at home to establish the proxy”.
- How about electronic or postal voting?
For the Minister of the Interior, there is no question at the moment whether to take electronic voting or long-distance voting, because of the security and sincerity of the vote, even though many votes claim it.
“We vote online for the Association of Anglers, Trade Unions, nothing is easier than to guarantee the sincerity of the vote because all voter lists are digitalized,” said MoDem’s chief, François Bayrou, favoring electronic voting in voluntary municipalities.
If the use of voting machines in offices has been planned for a long time, remote controlled electronic voting is only allowed to vote in legislative elections for French citizens abroad.
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“The type of blocking of France on digital voting over the Internet seems to me an absurdity,” lamented François Bayrou, who also favored the restoration of the postal environment.
Voting by correspondence enabled voters to vote remotely with the election material sent to them (voting, envelopes, information forms, mailing envelopes). It has been eliminated in France since 1975 “because it borrowed for manipulation”, emphasized Christophe Castaner, although it still remains, still, possible during the legislative elections for French abroad.
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But votes in the political class, such as Rachida Dati, LR candidate in Paris, or Laurent Hénart, president of the Radical Movement, called to reconsider this repeal.
“At the legal level, there is no obstacle (…), a simple recovery article would suffice to conduct experiments on June 28,” argued the mayor of Nancy.
But for Romain Rambaud, specialist in electoral law, “electronic or correspondence voting” cannot be set up “just one month before the election, because of the principle of electoral law stability”.
“Voters would have the greatest difficulty adapting and relying on the new system.” In the event of a mistake, “the conspiracy machine (…) would run at full speed” and “just as much as not adding questions about election fraud,” he wrote in his blog.