Wednesday, 21 May 2014

To vote or not to vote ?

Next Friday, Ireland will vote for the local and European elections. As a citizen of Ireland and consequently Europe, I am entitled to vote for both. Ireland has one of the most inclusive voting system in the world, where all residents, regardless of their nationality or how long they have lived in the country, are allowed to vote for the local elections.

The only hiccup? I didn't register to vote. In fairness, I completely forgot there was going to be an election, and when I realised it, the deadline had passed. 

I was also inundated by e-mails about a brand new election: "Local Councillors for French people abroad". Yes, you read it well. As a French citizen living in another country, I now have to elect a local representative, who is supposed to represent French people with the embassies and consulates. He will be part of a "consular council" who will participate in the implementation of the policies put in place for French people abroad, regarding education, social benefits, employment and training. They will also elect the senators who represent French people abroad.

This seems to be a lot of waffle if you ask me. I read all the e-mails received from the different candidates, and there were so many I was even more confused about who to vote for. The only subject of interest for me? One of the candidate say she would fight for the cancellation of social contribution on rental income for French people abroad. I'm in that situation, so this candidate got my vote!

I also had to do my civic duty online. I received a login and password to vote on the internet. Not a very transparent voting system... I thing the participation will be very low anyway. 

Then, when I finally thought I was done with all this multiple election madness, I started receiving e-mails about the European elections, from the French candidates! I initially thought I had to vote in my country of residence, but it appears I can vote for a French representative if I want to. Maybe I will feel a bit better about not getting on the Irish register after all...

There is no Internet voting for this one, so will I bother driving all the way to the consulate?

At least it's on a Sunday, not like the Irish elections, which ALWAYS take place on a week day. I really don't understand the reason behind it. They close the schools for that day, which mean extra childminding fees for me... and people have to take time off work to vote. Polling stations are usually open early in the morning and late in the evening, but why not do it when everybody is off ? I'm sure more people would take time to go to the voting booth if it was taking place at the week end... 

Anyway, all this political stuff is too much for me. At least we won't have another election either in Ireland or France for a few years now!!