LETTER:Voting flaw in France

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The Independent Online
Sir: On Sunday I had the privilege of witnessing the voting process in the French elections first hand. While I was impressed by the efficiency and professionalism, I noticed what appears to be a serious oversight in the process.

Votes are cast by the voters selecting a number of voting slips, each printed with a candidate's name, from a table in full view of the public. The voter then enters a booth and places one of these slips in an envelope, which is then put into a ballot box by the voter.

The weakness is in the first stage - the voter can be subjected to peer pressure not to collect one type of slip - be it a stern father forbidding his offspring from voting Green, workmates ensuring that their colleagues don't vote for one extreme or other or, dare I say it, the more serious organised coercion, backed by violence, that has occurred in other European elections this century.

Yours,

MARK R. BAKER

Oxford

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