The quest for assessors in the polling stations, a real hassle

“It is more and more complicated to find assessors”. In the 139 polling stations in Montpellier, the challenge was the same: succeed in finding at least two volunteers, whose presence is compulsory by law, to accompany the president of the office and his secretary. These four persons constitute the quorum required by the Electoral code. And it is far from simple: several municipalities, such as Vauvert, in the Gard, have launched citizen appeals. Other cities, Rennes or Marseille, have considered paying them in the past.

No worries for the president: he is generally an elected official or a service director, paid up to 300 euros gross for the day. It is he who ensures the police inside the polling station. He is assisted by the secretary, paid 200 euros on his side, who writes the minutes. The assessors are volunteers. And theoretically nominated by the candidates.

“Before, it was part of our commitment to politics”

Upstream, the town hall of Montpellier asked many people involved locally to supplement the obligations of the candidates and avoid appointing voters (the youngest, then the oldest) present at the opening of the office. “There is no particular problem in the neighborhoods where other candidates, absent in the second round, came out on top: we have a global vision of the 139 offices to recruit the assessors”, we explain to the town hall. Moreover, the assessors are not required to vote in the office where they hold this office, the only legal obligation being that they be registered on the electoral rolls of the department. “It’s an organization that never stops between two elections,” explained Olga Krompaszky, director of public relations at the city, before the first round.

“The scandal is that the finalists in this election are unable to mobilize their activists, explains a socialist elected official. The mayors are struggling. They draw from the pool of political activists, associations, trade unions and retirees, people who are willing to help. But many of them do not want to see their name associated with one of the two candidates”. “Twenty years ago, it was part of our political commitment to be present at these elections, underlines for her part the deputy Patricia Mirallès (elected under the LREM banner). Entering politics at the end of the 1990s, he left the PS in 2012 to support the man who was to become the mayor of the city, Philippe Saurel (DVG). Today, as we saw in the first round, the PS is unable to fill the polling stations. »

“I wanted to see for myself that it’s not rigged”

Mailys, a doctoral student in political science at the University of Montpellier, could have taken on the role in these elections. Asked by the town hall as a member of the municipal youth council, she finally had to decline for personal reasons. Close to the ideas of Mélenchon, she had initially agreed to be an assessor. “I wanted to see for myself who are the people who vote. When I see everything that has happened for five years, I come to wonder if the results are not rigged. I needed to see it for myself”.

If he will not be present in the second, the candidate of La France insoumise was a hit in the first round in Montpellier where he achieved his highest score in the municipalities of more than 200,000 inhabitants -40.73% of the vote).

Discover the results of the presidential election from 8 p.m. by city, department and region on 20 Minutes.

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