The Single Electoral Register
Law No 2016-1048, of 1 August 2016, amends the procedures for registration on the electoral rolls and establishes a Single Electoral Register (répertoire électoral unique – REU), entrusting its management to INSEE.
The Main Changes Introduced by the Reform
For the electorate, the main change is the removal of the deadline for filing a registration request, which was previously 31 December, meaning that if a person had not registered by that date, that person would be ineligible to vote in any election in the following year, except in limited circumstances. Since 1 January 2019, the deadline for registration for a given election, in general cases, is set as the sixth Friday preceding the election; this deadline is intended to allow for the completion of any appeals against the registration decision.
The Law also introduced some changes to the conditions for registration on the electoral roll, in particular:
- it allows the managers and majority shareholders of a company registered on the municipal tax contributions roll to be registered on the electoral roll of the municipality;
- for French nationals living abroad, it removes the possibility of being registered simultaneously on a municipal list and a consular list.
For municipal and consular services, Law No 2016-1048 introduces several important changes:
- registration requests submitted by the electorate are received and processed throughout the year;
- the decision to register or remove people for loss of municipal ties is taken by the mayor or the consular authority, with subsequent verification by a verification committee;
- INSEE removes people from the Single Electoral Register (REU) directly in cases of death and incapacity, and automatically registers young people and persons who have just acquired French nationality, attaching them to their municipality of residence.
The new procedures for processing registration requests, together with the automatic recognition of automatic registrations and removals, have been in effect since 1 January 2019. The electoral rolls resulting from the REU have been valid for elections held since 17 March 2019.
Updating the Single Electoral Register: a collaboration between the municipalities, consulates and INSEE
The Single Electoral Register (REU) is continuously updated via a fully automated management system.
The municipalities send the following to the REU directly:
- registrations on the electoral rolls that have been approved by the mayor;
- removals from the electoral roll for loss of municipal ties duly verified by the mayor;
- voluntary removals requested by voters included on the supplementary rolls;
- registration or removal decisions made by the verification committees.
Equivalent information relating to consular electoral rolls is exchanged through a centralised information system managed by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In addition, INSEE updates the REU on the basis of information received from other government departments:
- it performs the automatic registration of young people who are about to reach the age of majority and adults who have just obtained French nationality;
- it removes people who have died, lost their right to vote due to conviction or who have lost French nationality;
- it takes into account court decisions relating to registrations or removals from the electoral rolls.
The Extraction of Electoral Rolls from the Single Electoral Register
In accordance with Article L17 of the French Electoral Code, in order to take part in an election, the voter concerned must have submitted a registration request no later than the sixth Friday before the election, save for the exceptional cases established under Article L30 of the French Electoral Code (professional mobility or acquisition or recovery of the right to vote after the registration deadline).
Prior to each election, the verification committee ensures that all is in order with the electoral roll. It may, no later than the 21st day preceding the election, amend the mayor’s decisions or proceed with the registration of an omitted voter or the removal of a voter registered unduly. The electoral roll thus constituted is published the day after the meeting of the verification committee.
In the event that there are no elections held during the year, the electoral roll is examined by the verification committee and published at the end of the calendar year.
The management system for the Single Electoral Register (REU) allows the creation and extraction of electoral rolls, which are representations of the Register on a given date.
A mission to assess the implementation of the Single Electoral Register (REU), the
management of which is entrusted to INSEE, has been ordered by the Minister for Europe
and Foreign Affairs, the Minister of the Economy and Finance and the Minister of the
In this context, information on persons registered in the REU (civil status, current and previous place of registration, voting capacity) may be communicated to the auditors in charge of this mission.
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