Electoral magic and democratic realities

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Stéphane COTTIN

Project manager, Government general secretariat

Seminar Entrepreneurs, towns and regions | Wednesday June 1, 2011 - 8h45 - 10h45

Concealed within the admirable political principle of democratic elections are numerous functional difficulties which may cause the entire procedure to fail. Because of these difficulties, the government can manipulate the results of an election by altering the electoral system, or by altering the way constituencies are divided up. The way elections are conducted can put off some categories of electors in a subtle way because of the effort entailed. The actual process of counting votes, and the criteria for 'spoiled' votes open up the possibilities for fraud which some people can use to their advantage. The ambiguities of the electoral system make it possible for someone who wants to contest an election to have the opportunity of finding numerous objections. It is noticeable that all these difficulties emerge at every election. Despite this, the system works satisfactorily at the present time. Stéphane Cottin's comments allow us to understand the reasons.

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