Monday, 16 December 2013

Why I'm Excited About Filling in Paperwork

It's been a while since I had a close encounter with l'administration française. Admittedly, moving house last July involved some serious chasing up of the papers to terminate my phone and internet contract and a fiery exchange of recorded delivery letters to the appallingly inefficient Natio Assurances to explain to them why they couldn't collect an advance direct debit payment for the insurance contract that they had themselves just cancelled on my old flat, but I haven't had to deal with the big guns of public sector bureaucracy for about four years now.

And now here I am, compiling a good old dossier to send to the mairie in the hope that, in 2014, I will get to vote in not one, but two French elections.

I was pretty sad to be sitting on the sidelines at the last presidential election. I'm even more upset about not being allowed to vote in the Scottish independence referendum next year. But, as an EU citizen, I'm entitled to vote in both the European and the local elections which are taking place next year.

Registering is a fairly simple process, in theory at least. You download the forms here and send them, along with ID and proof of address, to your local mairie by the 31st December (although they recommend before the 15th to ensure everything is processed on time)  and that should be all. My problem has been the proof of address because everything in the new flat is in Understanding Frenchman's name, but it turns out its pretty easy to add anyone to an EDF contract - you don't even have to be the person concerned. In fact, making someone else liable for your electricity bill seems to be a whole lot easier than getting on to the electoral register... but I digress.

I don't want to say it was easy until I actually have the card in my sticky paw, but up until now it hasn't been too difficult. Now I just need them to process my application on time - what do you reckon the chances are?


  1. Good for you. I just had a look but I'm not sure that I'm not "privé du droit de vote" in the UK. I mean, I can't vote there because I'm not a resident, but surely that applies to everyone who is resident in France, so...?

  2. I assumed that only referred to people who might have lost the right because of something like a criminal conviction, otherwise the rule would make no sense, as you said.

    Plus, you can vote in UK national elections up to ten years after you leave the country. I've still got a few to go.

  3. That's funny that you blogged about this because just a few hours ago I went to my mairie to register to vote!

    I am really, really lucky in that I have never had any major problems with the French administration (knock on wood). I went in there (no queue) strolled up to the guichet, handed over my passport and justificatif, signed two papers and that was that. I was out of there in less than 10 minutes. Mind you, I live in a small city in province so that probably helped.

    The process to add my name to the bill was really simple. We just called up EDF and told them to add my name to the bill and that was that.

    I'm just curious, why can't you vote in the referendum? Do you need to be a resident?