TESTIMONIALS. Legislative: French people living abroad deprived of internet voting because of a technical problem? “I will be one of the abstainers despite myself”

A confusing error message. Since the opening, Friday, May 27 at noon, of online voting for French nationals living abroad for the legislative elections, hundreds of them have not been able to choose their candidate on the internet, for lack of being able to validate their ballot. informed of the problem, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains that this concern only concerns users of certain mailboxes, and that no solution has yet been found. While there is only until Wednesday, June 1 to vote online, some voters castigate this system they were waiting for impatiently.

This is the case of Agathe Chaigne, who tried to vote from Utrecht (Netherlands), where she settled in early 2022. “I’m very annoyed, yet I was excited to vote onlineconfides to franceinfo the young university assistant professor. It’s a huge advantage for people, it makes voting accessible.” But from the Netherlands to the United States, via Thailand, Spain or the United Kingdom, voters have reported to franceinfo a similar problem: after having identified themselves and having chosen their candidate, some do not receive the validation code, essential to confirm their vote online.

“I understood that it was because my email is on Yahoo!, says Agathe Chaigne, that’s what everyone noticed on social media.” Information has since been confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which replied to certain voters that this bug only concerned mailboxes hosted by the American company Yahoo, including the AOL service. “In the digital age, how can you miss such a system? wonders Jipe Gerardin, web developer and artist who has been living in England for twenty-one years. It’s a 20-year throwback.”

Contacted by franceinfo, the Quai d’Orsay explained on Saturday evening that this technical error had not manifested itself during the two full-scale tests organized in recent months. The technical support teams are currently working on fixing this problem, says the ministry. Voters have been notified and will be notified again when‘it will be resolved.’

In the meantime, the French people living abroad concerned hope that a solution will be found before Wednesday, when the online voting service will be officially closed. For many, the alternatives proposed by the French authorities (coming to vote at the ballot box, voting by proxy or by post) are not satisfactory. Nine months pregnant, Agathe Chaigne does not plan to travel to Amsterdam, for example. In England, this technical bug upsets the plans of Jipe Gerardin, unable to make a power of attorney. “If it is not settled in time, I will be one of the abstainers in spite of myself”he regrets.

For the time being, it is difficult to determine the number of voters affected by this problem. In some constituencies, it is close to 10% of those registered on the lists. “In San Francisco, 12.8% of voters use Yahoo!”, explains for example to franceinfo Loïc Le Gland, consular adviser in California, who fears that this concern will inflate abstention. Still in the United States, Julien Cavanagh, adviser to French people living abroad based in Boston (Massachusetts), points out that the constituencies abroad are sometimes gigantic. “At home, for example, some have to drive five hours to come and vote in person in Boston, it’s hard to bear, he warns. They would do it for the presidential election, but it’s much less certain for the legislative ones.”

Embarrassed, some voters are even revolted and do not intend to stop there. This is the case of Jhonny Blamoutier, who has been living in Spain for more than twenty years, who is thinking of claiming “the invalidity of the vote for non-respect of the principle of equity”. Contacted by franceinfo, several candidates running in foreign constituencies said “consider taking legal action” if online voting is not quickly made fully functional, in order to request an extension even a new vote.

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TESTIMONIALS. Legislative: French people living abroad deprived of internet voting because of a technical problem? “I will be one of the abstainers despite myself”


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