At the polling station in the Guillemer gymnasium in Strasbourg's Neuhof neighborhood on June 30, 2024.

With a packet of leaflets tucked under her arm, 24-year-old Laure Devouassoud approached the doorbell of an apartment. To the young man in the doorway, who sheepishly conceded that he “forgot” to vote on Sunday, June 30, in the first round of the France’s snap parliamentary elections, she said, her voice still hesitant: “You don’t need a voter’s card to go next Sunday [July 7]. Just your identity card, driving license or Vitale [health insurance] card.” It’s an unusual exercise for the left-leaning Devouassoud, who has never joined a political party. This is her first door-to-door campaign.

Pressed by the “urgency of the threat” of the far right at the gates of power, the woman who lives in Les Lilas, a suburb northeast of Paris, decided to take a late afternoon RER train and bus to Limeil-Brévannes, southeast of Paris, to lend a hand to a candidate with the left-wing Nouveau Front Populaire (NFP) alliance: Louis Boyard, a young figure from the radical left La France Insoumise (LFI) party who came first in his constituency and is in a three-way run-off race against the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) candidate, Arnaud Barbotin, and the Renaissance (President Emmanuel Macron’s party) candidate, Loïc Signor, who has not withdrawn.

“Being part of the action means I don’t stay at home and mope. It’s become vital,” said this Parisian business school graduate, now a work-study student in a social economy company. It’s a sector in which she has seen for herself just how “important the non-profit web is to our society,” a web she fears would be undermined by an RN government.

Up until then, she’d only gone to demonstrations – she started at the time of the pension reform, in 2023. But since the dissolution of the Assemblée Nationale on June 9, she has been sleeping badly and has been very anxious. “I told myself I had to be where I could be useful: I’d be too angry at myself for not having done anything,” she said. Working in tandem with another, more seasoned volunteer, Devouassoud is observing and learning on the job, like hundreds of other left-wing citizens, many of them under 30, who have been taking the plunge for the past three weeks and have started campaigning in the field.

‘There are still abstainers to be found’

On July 2, around 20 of them, half of them complete novices, set off with her from Gare de Lyon. Organizing the trip was Les Convois de la Victoire (Victory Convoys), a volunteer collective set up in the heat of the campaign on the initiative of a group of friends aged 28 to 35, some of whom were LFI members, others from the climate movement or former student unionists.

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