This October, Brazil will head back to the polls for an election deemed extraordinary for its impressive numbers: 141.8 million voters will choose from 26,131 candidates competing for 1,709 posts including president, vice president, governors, deputy governors, and federal, state, and district senators.
These general elections have become one of the most widely discussed worldwide, not only because they will shape the future of the world’s sixth largest economy, but also because two women candidate for the presidency are ahead in the preference polls.
Curiously enough, in spite the photo finish opinion polls are anticipating, there is little concern over what seems to be a daunting task Brazilian authorities have ahead, tallying the ballots cast by more than 141 million people. The reason why no one seems to be worried about such enterprise is simple, Brazil has already been using electoral technology for more than 20 years, and during that time, it has developed an e-voting system that ensures transparency, speed, and security in the results.
Brazil has been an e-voting reference since it began automating its elections in the 1990s. Then, the Brazilian Government developed its own technology with support from specialized companies, to automate the voting, tallying, and aggregation stages.
Brazil’s e-voting system is based on the use of a voting machine containing a small screen and a numberic keyboard where voters input in the numbers assigned to their candidates. To confirm their choice, they must verify thire vote on an image appearing onscreen and then press the “confirm” button. During these elections, several precincts will use biometric technology—fingerprint scanning devices—in order to authenticate the identity of more than 23 million voters. At the end of the event, the system prints several minutes with the results of the election. Each of them is stored on magnetic disks and then transmitted through a secure network from the High Electoral Court. The system is subject to several audits and requires electronic signatures from all the actors.
Beyond the development of the electoral campaigns and the turmoil they usually generate, this technology is part of the solution, and Brazil is fully aware of it. The country will attend the polling stations with confidence and full assurance in their elections, based on proven and secure e-voting.