Legislative elections: the explosion of proxy requests seems to herald a clear increase in participation

Legislative elections: the explosion of proxy requests seems to herald a clear increase in participation

Devant le commissariat annexe de Montpellier, chaque jour, des files d'attente se forment. Midi Libre – JEAN MICHEL MART

According to the Ministry of the Interior, there have been 6.5 times more requests since June 10 than two years ago. The parties, in particular, organize themselves to go fishing… to abstainers.

The scene is repeated almost everywhere in France: queues lengthening in front of police stations and gendarmes to organize a proxy vote less than two weeks before the early legislative elections. It’s not just a visual impression, this affluence is also reflected in the figures. On Wednesday, ten days after the announcement of the dissolution of the National Assembly, the Ministry of the Interior announced that 717,000 proxies had already been established, or six times more than the previous year. in 2022.

If Beauvau does not communicate the figures by department, the few town halls contacted all report an explosion in requests. "We recorded 3 058 in ten days, compared to 1 640 in six months for Europeans", answers the City of Nîmes. "We had 2 693 proxies on Wednesday, we reached 4 500 this Thursday, or nearly 2 000 in 24 hours&quot ;, indicates Radia Tikouk, municipal councilor in charge of elections in Montpellier. She speaks“exponential growth”, proof of the growing interest in this election. Until now, only the presidential election generated such a large number of proxies in the city: 5,988 in 2012, 4,631 in 2017.

Bad calendar

In the smallest municipalities, the order of magnitude is obviously not the same, but requests still flow in daily, around twenty per day in Mende for example. On Wednesday afternoon, ten people were waiting their turn in front of the Castries police station. Among them, Denis, 59 years old."I had planned for a long time to climb Mont Blanc with my son on the weekend of July 6 and 7. Everything is reserved, guide and refuge, I could not give up. But faced with what was at stake in this election, I couldn’t imagine not voting",” he says. Power of attorney validated in a few minutes by the magic of online pre-request.

Many requests come from voters who are traditionally mobilized, but who had already planned a weekend, like Denis, or even the start of the holidays. "There is a lot of anger among people. An election is a democratic meeting that is organized in advance. There, many feel this summons to the polls as an injunction to vote, but the political context pushes them to organize, shares elected representative Radia Tikouk, thus explaining in part of this explosion of requests.

The issue, however, also pushes some registered members, who had previously abstained, to want to express themselves again. Like this bus driver, who prefers to remain anonymous but describes his fed up with the incivility and violence he sees on a daily basis and which push him to turn "towards National gathering, which will demonstrate firmness", he hopes.

In the parties, a quasi-industrial system

"The abstainers are a reservoir of votes for us", supports the outgoing RN deputy from Gard and departmental delegate from party, Yoann Gillet, going against the grain of certain analyses. "We are able to take power and this mobilizes the electorate",he adds. Hence the organization put in place so as not to lose a vote. "Many people ask us because they can't find anyone to vote for them . Between the requests that come to us from the national platform, from the RN website, and those who come directly to the office, we process up to 60 files per day." A quasi-industrialized system, with delegates in each constituency "responsible for finding activists who agree to vote for these voters", describes Yoann Gillet .

Same strategy on the other side of the political spectrum. Rhany Slimane, an influential rebel from Montpellier, organizes the service via the associative café-bar, Le Quartier Généreux."We have a long list of volunteers and we connect them with those who are looking to entrust their power of attorney. This morning alone, we recorded eight.

An "intense"work

In the 4th and 9th constituencies of Hérault, where he particularly follows the campaigns of Sébastien Rome and Nadia Belaouni, he has even analyzed the European voting lists of numerous communes – and there are many – to flush out abstainers he knows, in order to then remind them, through the voice of activists, of the very particular issues at stake in this election and to propose to them, if necessary… hellip; to manage their power of attorney. "It’s intense work, but it can swing a vote. In 8th place in 2022, Sylvain Carrière won by 450 votes out of a total of 43,000 votes", he adds.

Even more modest candidates, without an activist structure, are getting involved. Thus Flavio Dalmau (Ecology at the center), in the 3rd constituency of Hérault, tinkered with his digital platform, "after receiving around twenty emails from people saying they wanted to vote for us but absent".

63 % of voters ?

This boom in proxies seems to herald a clear increase in participation. An analysis shared by pollsters, who all agree, in their latest opinion surveys, on a perspective of 63% of voters. This would represent, compared to the European elections, 6.4 million additional voters out of a total of 49.4 million registered. And 8.6 million more than in the last legislative elections. The promise of a possibly historic election.

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