“HAS poll!’ As will be the case in all prisons, on Thursday, a few days before the second ballot, the prisoners of the Draguignan prison threw their envelope into the ballot box provided for this purpose.
This is the first time inmates have had the opportunity to vote by mail in a presidential election.
Because if the citizen law was previously possible in prison, only the system of power of attorney or an exit permit allowed one to cast one’s vote.
Modalities that have sometimes proved difficult: “As a result, the rights of citizens were severely restricted.” recognizes Pierre Pech, deputy director of the prison facility.
Therefore, the introduction of postal voting has made things a lot easier. “This system was first introduced by the Ministry of Justice in 2019 as part of the European elections, continues Pierre Pech. We had to set up a system that would allow prisoners to vote under the same conditions as outside.
Organizationally, the Prison Service for Integration and Probation (Spip) was responsible for setting up the ballot box within the detention center.
“Initially via a poster and information campaign before the vote, aimed at raising prisoners’ awareness of their rights in this area, detailing the methods of voting, explains Ludivine Pedinielli, director of Spip in Draguignan prison. Collective meetings were then proposed to complete the procedures of detainees registered to vote.
Anyone who has French nationality and has not been deprived of their civil rights has the opportunity to cast their vote once they have reached the majority.
“A good turnout”
In the first round, out of nearly 70,000 prisoners, 10,234 expressed themselves on national territory. On Thursday, 74 out of a total of 580 detainees in the Draguignan detention center decided to vote by post.
While this involvement may seem small, it is not so much for the prison administration. “In particular, the 150 to 200 imprisoned persons with foreign nationality currently in prison must be deducted from this number, continues the director of Spip. But also people who have recently been imprisoned. In the end, this number of participants is good for us. It shows a certain commitment among the prisoners.”
Mélenchon in the lead on the first lap
In the first ballot, prisoner votes lead the same three candidates compared to national results.
But in a different order… Out of a total of 10,740 voters (1) including 10,234 votes cast, Jean-Luc Mélenchon leads with 45.78%, ahead of Marine Le Pen (20.28%) and Emmanuel Macron (18.63%).
Next are Eric Zemmour (3.82%), Valérie Pécresse (2.61%), Jean Lassalle (2.03%), Philippe Poutou (1.69%), Yannick Jadot (1.62%), Anne Hidalgo (1.06%), Fabien Roussel (1.06%). , Nathalie Arthaud (0.87%) and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (0.56%).
(1) Source: Ministry of the Interior
Be considered a full citizen
In the furnished room of the remand prison, the same voting conditions apply as in a classic office with ballot box, voting booth and obligation to sign. Once submitted, ballots are safely transported to the Ministry of Justice, Place Vendôme in Paris, to be counted.
The prison administration assures us: the device works well, the prisoners adopt it.
“Being able to express yourself in this way is an opportunity for them to be part of a democratic process, but also to understand it, argues Pierre Pech. Because many of them didn’t vote outside and are casting their ballots here for the first time. Many tell us that they are proud to be considered full citizens. What they are and what they remain.”
Why do some inmates vote for the first time in prison if they don’t vote outside? Ludivine Pedinielli gives a beginning of the explanation:
“From now on, the voting situation of detainees will be regulated from their arrival in a correctional facility. In particular, we check whether they are entered in the voter lists. If they don’t and they wish to register, we’ll handle the process for them.”
Understand that an inmate who for some reason never bothered about the issue is being escorted here.
On the voters’ side, the approach is unanimous with essentially the same message: feel useful, speak your mind, make sure it’s taken into account. “I’m here because I feel I have my say, I can speak my mind. It is important to me”says Etienne (1), 43 years. The same feeling for Benoît, 27, who adds: “It’s also an opportunity to get out of his cell a bit… And then, to be honest, I’m doing it a bit too in the hopes of it being noted on my record as part of an additional sentence reduction (RPS).
Immediately, Ludivine Pedinielli showered hopes: “The vote is in no way a legal criterion for an RPS, it has no influence…”
One by one, the 74 prisoners marched to do their duty. Moussa, 24, has previously voted while in prison at another prison facility during the European era. Like his fellow inmates, he hammers in turn: “I feel like I need to make my voice heard, especially when we see what’s happening at the moment, with this general context, which doesn’t seem very good to me…”