Gérald Darmanin hammers it: in his eyes, it is a “false good idea”. In a text published Sunday afternoon on social networks, the Minister of the Interior listed the various arguments for which he opposes the postal vote, as he had already made known the same morning in Le Parisien.
A few months before the regional and departmental elections and in the midst of uncertainty about the evolution of the health situation linked to Covid-19, such a device would make it possible to limit the level of abstention, plead conversely many elected officials. We take stock of a hot debate.
What is postal voting?
You cast your vote without having to physically go to a polling station. Concretely, there are two ways to vote remotely: by post and by Internet. In the first case, as we have seen in the United States on the occasion of the presidential election, a blank envelope is sent by post before election day containing his vote. The various bulletins will have been received at home a few days before. That said, “the comparison with the United States is erroneous because the geographic network in polling stations has nothing to do with that in France”, underlines Alain Garrigou, professor emeritus in political science at Paris Nanterre and author of “Secrets of the polling booth ”(Editions Le bord de l’eau, 2012).
In the second case, you indicate your choice on a digital platform, in theory totally secure, and the result can be transmitted almost immediately.
In France, for the moment, distance voting (by mail or digital) is only possible during legislative or consular elections and for voters living abroad.
Why do some people advocate it now?
Several elected officials, members of the majority and of the oppositions, plead for the development of distance voting, primarily by postal correspondence. In the midst of a pandemic, they believe that this would encourage participation in the next elections. Starting with the departmental and regional elections, initially scheduled for March 2021 but which could finally be postponed to June. In March and then in June, the first and then the second round of municipal elections saw record levels of abstention.
“Is it better to have participation rates that collapse than to implement a solution, certainly not perfect, but allowing to limit this risk?” », Asks the senator of Landes Eric Kerrouche, also director of research at CeviPof, to the Parisian. The elected official, who has been campaigning for several months in favor of postal voting, has just tabled a new bill on the subject.
The deputy of Yvelines Jean-Noël Barrot (MoDem) is also favorable in principle. “Remote voting is a complicated site but it must be opened today”, he explains. “From the moment it works, we must not deprive ourselves of this means of going to vote and we must be able to seize it at any time”, also pleads the president of the departmental council of Mayenne, Olivier Richefou, who intends to revive for a new mandate. Emmanuel Macron himself would not exclude it, if we are to believe the JDD.
Why is Gérald Darmanin opposed to it?
In his text published Sunday afternoon on Twitter and Facebook, the Minister of the Interior first puts forward a practical aspect. “The Interior Ministry will not be ready, in a few weeks or months, to offer voters a robust system ensuring absolute confidence in the outcome of the vote. It would be a challenge for a postal operator, knowing that the registered vote would not be safer from a health point of view, if it is necessary to go to the post office, ”he believes. In addition, the French “are used to the election being held in a single day”, while voting by mail involves sending the ballot several days before polling Sunday.
The major problem in his eyes seems to be the risk of family or community “pressures”. “Only the voting booth, an essential conquest of republican democracy, made it possible to guarantee that the voters are free and equal citizens in law, free to hold their secret ballot”, explains Gérald Darmanin. In other words, a citizen voting from home would risk losing his freedom to vote. “It is not necessarily easy to vote for Marine Le Pen if you are in a family of left sensitivity, you risk finding yourself in a weak position”, illustrates Chantal Enguehard, lecturer at the University of Nantes and who worked on remote voting.
Well aware of these issues, the “pros” have their answers already sharpened. “The argument of family pressure, it was already used against the vote of women by saying that they would necessarily vote like their husband,” sweeps Eric Kerrouche. More seriously, the elected representative believes that “face-to-face voting does not remove all the pressure that may exist on a voter”. To get around the fact of having to send their vote before the end of the campaign, the elected representative suggests that those who change their minds could still come to the polling station on Sunday and that this would “replace” their remote voting.
“We already have a misuse of the system with the proxy. Is postal voting likely to taint the sincerity of a ballot? No doubt there will be some overflows as there are today with proxies, but this will remain marginal ”, adds Olivier Richefou, who exchanged by SMS with the Minister of the Interior on Sunday evening. The president of Mayenne even proposes an experiment at the level of an inter-municipal authority in his department.
What about electronic voting?
With the Internet, an additional aspect comes into play: the risk of hacking or computer bug. “There is no way to absolutely certify electronic voting”, recognizes Eric Kerrouche. “Postal voting is already very complicated to set up, but by Internet it would be even worse. A bug would be enough to change the outcome of the vote and it would be very difficult to realize it, ”adds IT specialist Chantal Enguehard.
Especially since it would undoubtedly take longer to develop a digital platform that is totally secure and accessible to all than to mobilize the postal services. “We have the technology and the know-how to set up an Internet voting platform, but it would be very difficult and very dangerous to want to go quickly. You have to carry out tests over time, it can take four or five years, ”said Sam Curry, security manager at Cybereason, a few days before the municipal elections.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr