In lieu of the controversial election in France last week, many news outlets have analyzed the ways in which the French are voting, as many American news outlets did during last year’s election. The election stirred the young people of France, as they are overall more liberal than the older generations. They were placed with two options, one centrist who attempts to combine policies known as both liberal and conservative, and one far-right conservative.
Instead of voting for “the lesser of two evils” as my friend who is a student in Paris called it, many young French turned in blank ballets as a sign of protest to the candidates.
The Washington Post called this a “new political opposition,” in which more people did not vote than vote for the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen. The article explains that it is not the simply act of not voting out of laziness or disinterest, as many American new outlets claimed last election.
“It’s more important to vote for someone you actually want to be in office,” says Julie,e an 18-year-old French women who was quoted in the article. “And I don’t want to be guilty for what [Emmanuel] Macron does, or doesn’t do.”
The Washington Post article, however, does not mention how this relates to historical France. In an article from CNN, the “ballot blanc” (white ballot) has a symbolic history of protest in France. When faced with two choices that one does not agree with, a voter can give a blank ballot, in which no one receives the vote to protest the options.
The article uses graphs to display how the French voted, and did not vote. One graph shows that more people did not vote than voted for Le Pen. According to graph, 4,045,395 people submitted the protest white ballot.
Like The Washington Post article though, the ballots are described as a “conscious decision” rather than a form of laziness.