Legislative: Estimating the Cost of Surprise Elections

French people are once again called to the polls. Early legislative elections will be held on June 30 and July 7, in order to elect new deputies, following the dissolution of the National Assembly by Emmanuel Macron. However, such an election is expensive, particularly for town halls.

During an election period, many questions arise. Which candidates or which lists will present themselves? How many voters will vote? How to make a power of attorney online, and how many can you take per person? Who will win ? A question that is less thought about concerns the cost of organizing these elections. However, this is a crucial question. While Emmanuel Macron has announced the dissolution of the National Assembly on June 9, 2024 and the holding of new legislative elections on June 30 and July 7it is all the more worth asking.

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The sums to be incurred are sometimes substantial — and it is up to the municipalities to advance certain costs of organizing elections, and to pay for the installation of voting booths, ballot boxes and even ballots. If town halls receive state aid, holding two additional ballots, to be organized at the last minute, constitutes a real difficulty for certain cities — and these budget issues will play out on a large scale.

An election costs several million euros

Organizing elections is not easy. According to a Senate report published in 2015, the 2012 legislative elections cost 154 million euros – a sum “ which does not take into account certain expenses which are supported by other budgetary programs, such as expenses relating to personnel mobilized during elections, or expenses incurred by municipalities », specifies the report.

More recently, the cost of the 2021 regional and departmental elections was calculated at 322.4 million euros, as reported Le Figaro. “ In detail, the 2021 departmental elections should cost 138.5 million and the regional elections 155.6 million. » The elections that year, however, had the particularity of costing even more for the municipalities, which had to equip themselves with equipment to avoid the transmission of covid. The town halls had to buy “ masks, visors, hydroalcoholic gel and self-tests ”, which had increased by “ 20% campaign spending limits », According to the daily.

Organizing elections is expensive // ​​Source: Canva
Organizing elections is expensive

This year, town halls must still take into account the installation of polling stations, with ballot boxes, voting booths, but also ballots. Gold, “ the cost for municipalities is not monitored by the Ministry of the Interior; it is therefore difficult to estimate “, explained the Senate report.

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In addition to logistical costs, costs incurred during elections result from two types of expenses.

  • First, there are the costs. preparation and material organization of the election by the central administration and the prefectures ”, which include “ compensation paid to staff mobilized during the elections as well as electoral assembly costs paid to the municipalities. »
  • Then there are the costs associated with reimbursement of candidates' campaign expenses, as well as for posters.

However, it remains difficult to estimate exactly how much the organization of elections costs. In its report, the Senate indicated: that it is not possible to have a complete view of the cost associated with the organization of elections in France. » Indeed, state expenditure for the organization of elections is provided for in budgetary programs, but which do not include all expenditure. “ Expenditures relating to the personnel of the Ministry of the Interior, mobilized during the elections, are traced in other programs “, and like those of other ministries involved in holding elections.

In any case, although there are no definitive figures, an election represents sums of several million euros. According to the Senate report, 52% of expenses concern electoral propaganda, that is to say ” packaging and sending of propaganda and reimbursement of printing to candidates “. The flat-rate reimbursement of candidates' expenses represents 24% of expenses. But after these expenses, all organizational questions still need to be taken into account – and it is up to the town halls to advance these costs.

Cities bear part of the cost of elections

The Association of Mayors of France (AMF), however, warned of “ the difficulties of organizing the legislative elections of June 30 and July 7 ” In A press release, published on June 10. “ The material organization of elections represents a significant burden for the municipalities, of which the executive does not seem to be fully aware », explained the association.

How much does it cost to organize a vote? // Source: CanvaHow much does it cost to organize a vote? // Source: Canva
How much does it cost to organize a vote?

Without ignoring the legitimacy of the constitutional prerogatives of the President of the Republic, the AMF regrets that neither the practical arrangements for implementing its decision, nor the pressure it places on the municipalities, have been taken into account. » The AMF argues that the finances of cities would already be undermined by the organization this summer of “ the organization of numerous events linked to the Olympic and Paralympic Games ”, but also by “ the start of annual school holidays which weigh on the number of available staff “.

The town hall of the town of Cholet, in Maine-et-Loire, also complained from Ouest-France lack of state support on organizational issues. Although the State pays subsidies to municipalities to cover the expenses they incur during elections, they would not be sufficient.

For Cholet, while the organization of the European elections cost the sum of 67,500 euros, the city would have received only €5,340 in subsidy, i.e. “ €44.63 per polling station and €0.10 per voter “. A gross loss of 62,000, to which we will have to add the sums necessary for the organization of the next legislative elections, which should cost €125,000. A sum which had not been “ budgeted ”, and which will be financed “ to the detriment of other planned expenses “.

Finally, the AMF press release points out the legal problems that arise during the counting of votes, because of “ massive disengagement from candidates and political parties. » Something that is perhaps not ready to change, given the problem of abstention.


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