How to “unite residents” to encourage them to vote

In 2019, the participation rate in the European elections barely exceeded 50% of those registered on the electoral lists in France (50.1%). A figure very slightly lower than the European average (51%). Well below Malta, champion in all categories (72.7%) if we remove from this list Belgium (88.5%) and Luxembourg (84.1%) where voting is compulsory. But much higher than Slovakia (22.7%), the dunce cap of European interest at the polls.

To fight against abstention, the town of Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone, in the metropolis of Montpellier, is mobilizing its elected officials among the population. “In return for a promise to vote, I will give you a bracelet,” promises Mayor Véronique Négret (SE). The “citizen challenge” aims to “put the cities that vote the most in Occitania on the podium” for the European elections on June 9.

“It is a non-partisan action, which is not intended to be educational or moralizing,” explains this 57-year-old professor of economics and social sciences. The idea is to create something fun, which unites residents so that they are proud to belong to a city where citizenship is expressed strongly. »

“Re-enchant this sometimes somewhat dull democracy”

“We, the elected officials, have a role to play in revitalizing democracy,” confides Corinne Poujol, finance assistant. We must try to get citizens to vote more to re-enchant this democracy which is sometimes a little dull.”

Each pledge collected contributes to increasing a manual counter manufactured by the city’s teenagers’ club and installed on the balcony of the town hall. Updated every evening, it showed the number of 717 on Thursday, still far from the 4,000 voters that the city set itself as a goal to achieve, out of a little more than 7,400 registered.

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