Primary LR: how the dog Douglas and deceased people were able to vote

POLITICS – During the right-wing primary, organized by the Les Républicains party in November 2021, strange voters found themselves registered on the list of right-wing party inserters.

In a survey unveiled this Wednesday, February 23 on its site, Release reveals the strange maneuvers that occurred during this election, which cast doubt on the result of the primary won by Valérie Pécresse.

Unlike 2016 and its ballot open to all, Les Républicains had decided to change the method of nominating its candidate for the 2022 presidential election, by offering a vote open only to members of the right-wing party.

During his investigation, Release was able to access the – very secret – file of LR members as well as several testimonies which highlight the presence of people unrelated to the party, deceased people, or even non-existent people. Stranger still, a dog is among those registered to vote in the primary.

Douglas, a political card with dog

Among the irregularities discovered during this investigation, the journalists of Release note the presence of a certain Douglas, “a discreet militant” in the files of the party. Behind this qualifier is actually the dog of a member of the LR party of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and pro-Eric Ciotti.

On condition of anonymity, he explained the process he pushed him to register his canine friend to vote in the primary: “I did with what I had on hand”, he explains to the newspaper, advancing the fact that it was above all a test “to see if it was feasible”.

As the newspaper specifies, of the 148,862 memberships recorded on November 16, 2021, 157 were deemed irregular and excluded from the electorate, but not Douglas, who obviously escaped party surveillance.

The case of Douglas seems to be one example among many. The survey also reveals that some subscribers would have simply voted to help an acquaintance, leaving some doubt about the fraudulent intention of certain steps, while others seem to come from solitary initiatives, as for Douglas.

The newspaper also notes the presence of several people registered but who died before the time of their membership. This is for example the case of a certain Françoise M., who died in November 2019 but registered as a member since last October 29.

Two other cases of deceased but registered persons are highlighted by Freed. LR assures that these people could not vote since “you need a telephone number”. The daily maintains for its part that a mobile number was indeed associated with certain deceased.

Lobbying with Asian communities

Another oddity, the presence of a large number of members of foreign nationality, particularly in Île-de-France and profiles that do not necessarily plead “for a spontaneous and informed commitment”, wonders Release.

Several testimonies collected thus explain having voted to render service, some having paid their dues themselves while others would not have had to do so. Lobbying mainly set up with members of the Asian community living in France, according to the sources cited by the newspaper.

But LR insists to our colleagues that “it was never required to have French nationality to be able to join”, and ensures that some concerned by the scenarios set out above were removed from the lists before the primary. That Release could not confirm since the electoral files have all been deleted, in accordance with the regulations.

What to throw the trouble within the device? Not really at first glance. “If we find weird stuff – and we are bound to find some, like in all elections – we cast suspicion on the process and we weaken our camp. I think we had all internalized that”, confides to Release support from Xavier Bertrand.

See also on The HuffPost: “Great replacement”, at her meeting, Valérie Pécresse is not her first time

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