There was an election in France last Sunday, and FBF took me along with him so I could see how it all works. As with almost everything else, the French and the Americans do voting differently.
The first obvious difference is that we went to the polls on a Sunday. There seems to be no “first Tuesday after the first Monday” for the French. How much more convenient is that? You don’t have to be late for work, or wait in a long line after work hungry and annoyed about the whole voting process. Why did our Founding Fathers decide we should vote on a Tuesday? I wonder if more people would go vote if it happened during the weekend.
In both countries, you have to register in order to be able to vote. In France, after you register, you get a little card that allows you to vote multiple times. After you vote, they stamp your card in one of the available slots.
All you get in France for voting is a little stamp with the date on it. In America, we get “I Voted!” stickers, which are way cooler. FBF agrees.
Although most of the differences between the two voting systems didn't dramatically alter the voting process, there was one in particular that surprised me.
As we were getting ready to go to the polls, the FBF said, “hurry! I don’t want to get there too late and be forced to help them count the votes!” Apparently, in France, if you are one of the last people voting, the poll workers can force you to stay and help them count the votes. In America, our poll workers don’t even count the votes themselves.
I doubt any American would go to vote after work if they knew they might be stuck there for the rest of the evening. It’s bad enough we have to vote during the week!