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No leaflets on Facebook the day before an election

On 29 October 2021, the Council of State rejected the request against a decision of the administrative court of Cergy-Pontoise. A year earlier, this court annulled the local elections in the town of Saint-Martin-du-Tertre (Val d’Oise). In the second round, on 26 June 2020, the list “The future is together” had obtained 376 votes (50, 18% of votes cast) and elected.

The outgoing mayor and his list “New perspectives for Saint-Martin- du-Tertre ”collected 372 votes either 49, 73 % of the votes cast, ie 5 elected. Two days before this second round, however, leaflets “ seriously questioning the probity ” of the outgoing mayor were distributed and included on the Facebook accounts of two associations supporting the list led by his opponent.

In its judgment, the Council of State recalls that according to Article L. 48 – 2 of the electoral code, “ it is forbidden for any candidate to bring to the attention of the public a new element of electoral controversy at a time such that his opponents do not have the opportunity to answer it usefully before the end of the electoral campaign ”.

And according to article L. 49 of the same code , “ from the day before the poll at midnight, it is forbidden to distribute or have distributed ballots, circulars and other documents ” and “ disseminate or cause to be disseminated by any means of communication to the public by electronic means any message having the character of electro propaganda rale ”.

The dissemination of these leaflets on social networks was fatal for these electoral operations. For the high court, intractable in the event of a very small difference in votes, it was indeed likely to alter the sincerity of the ballot, rightly leading the administrative tribunal to cancel this ballot.