Paper Ballots: They Work for France

Paper Ballots: They Work for France

It seems like there is an international consensus that the French are not very well-liked. Over the centuries, the French have developed a bad reputation. Maybe it's the questionable fashion choice of berets and black and white striped shirts or the fact they invented school. Is it because they are known for being snobby? Regardless, the French people have one thing going for them. They have their act together when it comes to voting! Specifically, the French only allow paper ballots and in-person voting. 

Paper Ballots and In-Person Voting

French elections have been conducted in the same manner for generations. Every election paper ballots are cast in person and counted by hand. Once a French citizen has reached eighteen years old, they are allowed to vote in elections. During the voting process, voters will cast their ballot behind closed curtains and place the vote in a transparent box. Afterward, all ballots will be counted by hand. 

What about people who cannot go vote in person? The French government has implemented a proxy system for that. In order to authorize another person to cast your ballot, the voter has to fill out a document and turn it into the police. By law, you can only be a proxy voter for one citizen. Paper ballots and in-person voting are already great countermeasures to fraud. However, France has gone the extra mile to protect election integrity. 

Banning Mail-In Ballot and Removal of Voting Machines

Although France uses exclusively paper ballots, there were times that they tried out other voting methods. For a good portion of France’s history, mail-in voting was legal until 1975. However, fears of potential voter fraud led to France banning the practice. Instead, they implemented the proxy voting system. 

In 2002, the French government decided to experiment with voting machines. It only lasted six years. As of 2008, the purchase of voting machines stopped. At the moment, only a handful of towns use voting machines. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the French government attempted to make an amendment that would allow early voting by machine. However, the Senate rejected the measure. 

In addition to this, France requires voter IDs. In fact, most countries that practice full or partial democracy require a voter ID for voter registration or to cast a ballot. This shows that the French have a well-thought-out voting system. 

France Has Voting Integrity

Although there are plenty of French citizens that call for flexibility and modernization in the way elections are conducted, their type of voting is almost perfect. While the United States is struggling with voter integrity and election fraud, France has their election down to a science. They did experiment with voting machines and mail-in ballots but it proved too risky to use them. The voter or a registered proxy has cast all ballots in person. In addition, votes are counted by hand. Even if a recount is required, the votes will be counted manually. 

Whether you agree or disagree about how well French people are liked, they have integrity and intelligence when it comes to their voting system. That’s something that we cannot say about the United State’s system.

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