Election Day in Issy-les-Moulineaux

Angelique at the voting booth.
Photo by Chris Card Fuller ©2007

Today is one of those idyllic Sundays in spring where one is simply happy to be alive and ambulant. Being in Paris or one of its surrounding towns such as Issy-les-Moulineaux is simply icing on the cake.
Photo by Chris Card Fuller©2007

Issy-les-Moulineaux is located in the south-western corner of the Parisian metropolitan area. You can reach the town by taking the #12 Metro line to Mairie d’Issy. The new television station France 24 has chosen Issy for its headquarters. With a booming real estate market and a neighborly village ambiance, the town has become increasingly popular in the recent years. (That would be popular in the English sense of the word, not the French meaning. In French, a popular neighborhood refers automatically to a working class neighborhood.)




What’s nice about walking around Issy is its sense of total classlessness – your neighbor could be very wealthy, upwardly mobile, a working professional, retired, a single mother trying to makes ends meet, or any number of possibilities. Likewise, as I’ve mentioned in past posts, its mayor, Mayor Andre Santini can often be seen around town, chatting with fellow residents, in the same way that a mayor of a small village would take the time to meet and greet villagers, old and young alike. This was one of my biggest surprises in coming to France was the fact that mayors actually LIKE to spend time with their constituents whereas in the US, unless you have business to discuss with your mayor – or a problem – you would never expect that he or she would have the time or the inclination to talk with a resident – just for the sake of being friendly.

We were lucky enough to receive a dinner invitation today from Angelique, Mark and Nicolas and afterward, we had the added ‘adventure’ of accompanying Angelique to the voting booth. This is the first election for which the electronic computed voting machines have been installed, so I was looking forward to seeing how the new machines would be greeted by the voting public.

Although lines for voting were a little longer than normal compared to the last few years, Angelique found the new system easy to use. When the vote is entered you can hear an electronic beep. It’s loud enough for the voting attendants to come forward if they don’t hear the beep so they can help you validate your vote.

Angelique told us that a few days earlier, when she walked by the town hall annex, people were giving free demonstrations for using the new voting machines. She had been invited to try them out at that time, so she was well prepared for today’s vote.