First: we got to see the Super Moon last night on our final tinkle-break before bedtime. It was truly beautiful and BIG! We had a rather dramatic sky with partial clouds, that only served to highlight the moon further. Must have been many happy werewolves around the world.
Second: although we still have another day or so before it is officially spring, the weather has decided not to wait and is gloriously heralding the season. As usual, once the weather turns nice, the villagers use any excuse to turn out to enjoy the sunshine. And, that brings me to…
Third: today was the first round of elections for the Cantonal representative. I suppose it would most closely align with County elections in the U.S. (not sure about the UK).
The Socialists have held the seat for a long, long time, but the director of our local retirement home is running as an independent candidate. That is making for a very exciting election, because the current county representative doesn’t get along with the mayor and town council. This makes for rather complicated local affairs, because communication is strained to say the least.
Having an independent who is well liked by almost everyone, stands to help move along any new projects. And, the candidate has a lot of excellent ideas for things that would be good for the village, the county and the community.
JM and I went to vote, and noticed on our voting cards that this was the eighth election in which we’ve participated since our arrival here. To be fair, since most offices are not decided on the first round of voting, but take a second vote, that really means four election cycles.
Elections in France are always held on Sunday, so people don’t have the excuse of working to not vote. In our case, we don’t remember going to an election here in bad weather, which must certainly help with the turnout. But this election surprised us by how many people were in our Mairie voting! We actually had to stand in line almost out the door, so that means a very, very good turnout I would imagine. I honestly don’t remember any municipal or county elections in L.A. that could boast as high a percentage of voting in all my years there.
Voting here is done by hand. That is: there is a piece of paper printed with each candidate’s name. You take one of each of the ballots and an envelope, then you go into the voting booth and put the ballot of your choice in the envelope, tossing out the others. You seal your envelope, go up to the table where the officials are sitting, hand in your voting card or national ID card (even though they all know who you are!) and they look you up in the voting register. Once you are found, you are asked to put your envelope in a clear, locked box, and you sign the register and they stamp your voting card. You can see the envelopes in the box and no one can tamper with them. Then, they are counted by committee at the end of the day. It’s a totally non-technical system and works flawlessly.
But voting here is more than a civic duty. It’s also a great social outing. We ran into loads of people we know and everyone stands around chatting and enjoying the sun. You feel as if you have participated in a special occasion and come away feeling good about being part of the process and part of a the social fabric of a village.
I don’t think I ever saw anyone I knew at an election in L.A. Certainly we never spoke much to anyone. And, by the last years there, we just voted by mail, so it didn’t have any real feeling of anything about it.
We may know the results of the election tonight when we take the dogs out before bed. If there is no majority, then there is a run-off election next Sunday. JM thinks there will be one, but I’m not so sure. I think people want a change as much here as they do in the U.S. and UK, so I’m thinking the independent will get a decent majority.
JM tells me he is always right; so I guess we’ll have to wait and see!
Ciao for now.