Digital Best-Bid: Internet Voting for the French Abroad?

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Contributions to Political Science


In June 2021, the undersecretary for the French abroad, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, stated that the French abroad “stepped into the digital age.” Of the voters 86.16% used Internet voting, but only 15.06% of the overall citizens cast a ballot. This chapter analyzes if the statement “Internet always brings the voter closer to the ballot box” is correct or not. Internet voting was put to the test for the French diaspora, legally characterized as the “French based abroad” at the turn of the century. Against a specific political background, no evidence justified that Internet voting increased the election turnout. Instead, it might have increased the blank vote or blank ballot paper. Internet voting also impacts on civic culture. It trivializes the act of voting and confirms what some scholars have described as a “rupture of legitimacy.” It cannot replace the physical ballot in polling stations because the traditional process epitomizes two centuries of democracy.

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