I voted for the European elections in France (from the UK) and for the local elections in the UK. Not that it made any difference, of course.
In London, I registered for postal vote. It couldn’t have been easier. I received an envelope, and I just had to send it back with my vote. Done. I voted. It took me five minutes.
For the French elections, I decided to go for the vote by Internet. I thought that it would be easier than queuing in South Kensington.
How wrong I was…
Why make it simple when you can make it complicated? The French have to do everything differently, and this voting thing was a stark reminder of this.
I had received a login and a password a couple of weeks ago.
So far, so good.
The difficulties began when I started to connect to the website where I was supposed to vote. Basically, I found out that I couldn’t vote on my mobile phone or my iPad. Apparently, it was not secure enough.
Yeah right. I can sell stuff on eBay from a tablet. Surely I can vote as well. But no, I couldn’t. Of course not. Why make it easy, right?
Undeterred, I tried on the family computer. It didn’t work. First, the site was under maintenance -bad timing, right?- then, it said that my version of Java wasn’t compatible with the voting system. Damn it. They explained how to upload the right version but it still wasn’t working because my version was in fact more advanced than theirs, and my computer would not accept an older version (did you follow? It took me a while too… ).
It looked I couldn’t win. I had to think of something else.
I tried on my daughter’s laptop, but the Java version was also incompatible. What to do?
I went to the nearest Internet cafe, but it still wasn’t working. Damn it.
Back home, I managed to load a compatible version of Java using Firefox instead of Safari and changing various settings on the family computer (I removed Java and installed it back). I managed to vote ten minutes before they closed down the site. Phew! The whole process took me five hours in total. I would have saved time by going to vote the old fashioned way.
I wonder what the turnout of the election was for the French living abroad. I am pretty sure that most didn’t persevere as I did. It must be pretty low.
Anyway, my vote didn’t prevent the extreme right from winning in France, and I have to admit that I don’t understand my home country any more. My great grandfather lost his two brothers during WW1. Somehow I have always believed that a strong Europe would prevent such tragedies from happening again. Clearly quite a lot of people don’t share such a view. Where did I go wrong again?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London