When will the result of Sunday’s French election be known?

Polling throughout day helps paint picture of results even before all counts are verified

Election posters for the french parliamentary elections on June 30, 2024
Voters head to the polling booths this Sunday for the second - and final - round of the legislative elections

Voting booths in the second round of France’s legislative elections will close at different times across France on Sunday (July 7) with some closing at 18:00 and the latest at 20:00.

Read more: French far right: poll downturn and three election scenarios

Immediately after the last booths close, media sites will publish breaking news stories on the results, announcing which party, according to estimated ‘polls’, has won the most seats as well as the vote share of each major group.

These figures are not 100% accurate but they do paint a strong picture of what has happened, being able to point to the largest party. 

They will also provide a rough estimate of the number of seats a party is set to win, however this is much more difficult to predict, so these results usually come as a range (for example, saying a party is set to win between 100 and 130 seats).

How is the data collected?

These initial results are compiled based on data collected throughout voting day, as well as what is already known about the 70 plus MPs who were elected outright in the first round.

There is also a series of polls and conversations with voters outside polling stations across France on the day of the vote, headed by major companies including Ifop, Harris Interactive and Ipsos.

Combined, they create a general estimate, projecting the outcome of the vote, which is then shared with major media outlets in the country.

More than 600 voting stations are polled to give an idea of the outlook across the country, selected as the most representative of general vote. 

Read more: Election first round: see how people voted in your area of France

An algorithm weighs the data collected based on additional information such as local population (rural vs urban), voter turnout in the area, and voter history (which party has traditionally done well in the area, etc).

In voting stations that close earlier in the day, final counts may have already been tallied – it usually takes an hour at each station to count all the ballots – helping to give a more accurate picture and to confirm or deny expected trends. 

A media blackout is in place until all the polling stations close so even if these early-closing polling stations provide accurate figures, the media cannot report them until all voting has closed.

There is the chance, despite the high number of polling stations analysed, that the votes of those that close earlier - usually rural areas - are different to the national picture, and votes submitted just before the deadline may affect the final results. 

For the legislative elections where people are voting for a local MP, this is mitigated, as a flurry of voting in a big city can only change the results in that one single seat. 

Compare this to the presidential election, in which all votes across the country have equal weight, and are going to only one of two people.