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How to drag people to the polling booth, French style


Turnout might be the lowest ever for EU elections. The French government has launched a campaign about polling booths to fight against it, though real solutions do exist in other countries.

Less than 40% of French citizens plan to actually vote next Sunday. The government has launched a last minute campaign to fight this low turnout. It’s called “This is not a polling booth”

It’s supposed to be a 2nd or 3rd degree message; but the pictures are far from clear. A photo with hats on the wall seems to depict a changing room in a store.

Then you have a yellow post box from a Paris street, from where letters depart, next to a door with a mailbox where the letters arrive.

Finally a weird white closet, that could be a fridge or a school locker.

And finally a swimming pool cabin which also looks like a school toilet.

At the beginning, there was also a picture with birds cages, a picture taken in a hype Thai restaurant, Bambou, in the heart of Paris.

But this picture was deleted after a campaign from opposition mocked Nathalie Loiseau (her family name meaning ‘the bird’).

Why not consider real solutions ?

Will this foggy campaign take the citizen to vote ? Not so sure. Though in other countries show solutions exist. As one of EU biggest countries concerned by low turnout, France should try to attract voters to the polling booth with more serious incentives. All the more as a low turnout typically enhances the results of the extreme right, as a UK study shows.

In Belgium, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Greece, voting is compulsory. Fines rarely apply, but the threat gives a serious incentive to go and vote. In the Nederlands, a special card allows people to vote anywhere, polling booths can be found everywhere in the country, from train stations to supermarkets.

School may also be a good place to start explaining why elections matter. But social networks campaign won’t help much.


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