In a digitized society, why do we still go to the polls to vote “by hand”?
Because it’s about symbols, words, and the education of our children. Also.
As far as education is concerned, I advocate manual voting. It seems to me essential to maintain this special family outing. You probably remember yourself as a true childhood memory, accompanying your parents to the municipal school of the district (quite a symbol, by the way) to see them vote.
A Sunday practice that is played by several people, each person being equal to his neighbor, moreover
In France, we vote on Sundays, contrary to many countries where it happens during the week, by slipping one’s ballot into the ballot box, before or after one’s lunch break.
We, in France, vote on Sunday. This undoubtedly plays on abstention. In short, it’s before or after the chicken and mother-in-law.
So, the children are also there to accompany us. And we have a lot to tell them at that time. It’s complementary to school civics. Parents, once again, take your part… Speak, explain, transmit!
So, we enter the courtyard (super clean courtyard), we look for our polling place. The alphabetical list has as much importance as for an entry in first grade. There, there are people like us, well even better than us because they spend their Sunday to propose ballots to the entrance to their fellow citizens. A free act, if ever there was one.
“And why are there others at the other end of the room taking notes? And why is there one (one) standing there repeating over and over again “voted” in front of a big plastic box?” ask little Raymonde and the mischievous Gilbert who lifts the curtain of the voting booth as if to reveal a magician’s trick!
“No, Gilbert, voting is secret. Did Mom say “it’s secret” or “it’s sacred”?
It’s not the time to make her repeat herself : she’s concentrated. Little Gilbert feels that it is time to let go of the clowning. The parents explained at the table how serious it is. First of all, voting is linked to the Republic… to the beginning of the French Revolution which instituted the self-written ballot. Thus, the illiterate had to rely on literate people (not very reliable); but also that for a long time we voted in different ways: by show of hands, with balls, in public, in general. It was not until the end of the 19th century that the secret ballot in the voting booth and its validation in public came into force. Much less influence and and look of others, it is obvious!!! Finally, universal suffrage, one vote equals one vote nationwide…. is in 1962. What an adventure!
Well, here it is: voting is expressing your voice
Every citizen has a voice and it counts the same: it has the same weight as that of the young black man, that of a salaried employee or a job seeker, that of the corner baker and that of the grandmother who are lining up together to reach the ballot box of the Republic. It is both very secret (her choice) and very public: dad’s or mom’s name was pronounced loudly, along with the address itself, and at least 4 people witnessed the vote.
The beauty of the gesture: the manual vote
With the widespread dematerialization of our acts – writing a love letter, withdrawing money, paying taxes – it is likely that we will have the right to generalized electronic voting in some time. Besides the obvious risk of fraud, of “surveillance”, (in marketing, we say “tracker”, that’s to say…), we have to worry about this virtualization of the voice of the people who, in France and in Europe, have such a rare privilege in this world: voting.
Our children must be convinced that our duty as citizens is also… a right, in principle fragile. They too will have their say tomorrow…
Do you know the Children’s Parliament?
It is not well known, but the National Assembly and the National Education organize the Children’s Parliament : click !
There is also the site of the Senate: Junior Senate
At the European level, Europa, the community organization, puts on line a site for the children but also for the teachers and the parents… Kid’s corner exists in all European languages. It also talks about institutions and voting.