100 Million Brazilians Vote. 100% by Computer.

    Brazil’s Federal Electoral Court’s (TSE) computerized voting system is ready
    for voting to begin in 5,563 municipalities on October 3, at 8 A.M., in
    compliance with the electoral calendar. The TSE expects 100 million voters to
    cast their ballots. 100% of the polling places are computerized.

    According to the President of the TSE, Sepúlveda Pertence, any Regional Electoral Court that requests it will be able to count on the reinforcement of federal troops to guarantee the security of elections in certain muncipalities.


    “The vast majority of requests is being granted. Some are more sensitive, such as the use of federal troops in Indian villages, which we think should be examined with extreme care, but the vast majority of requests is being granted,” he declared.


    According to Paulo Camarão, the TSE’s Secretary of Informatics, 90% of the ballots will be counted by midnight on Sunday, October 3, election day.


    Approximately 121 million voters are registered with the TSE. The Court estimates that abstentions will run around 17-18%.


    “This means we expect 100 million voters to cast ballots,” Pertence says.


    The number of abstentions may be smaller, in his view, since “municipal elections traditionally mobilize the electorate very directly.”


    During the “Unilegis 2004 Conference Cycle,” held September 28 in the National Congress, the President of the TSE presented a statistical profile of the municipal elections.


    There will be around 363 thousand polling places, and a total of 382 thousand candidates are running for office. 5,562 mayoralties and 51,802 city council seats are being disputed.


    The largest municipality in number of votes is São Paulo, with around 700 thousand voters, and the smallest is Bora (SP), with 834 voters.


    According to Pertence, the Brazilian electorate represents around 70% of the population, and the abstention index is considered small by international standards.


    Voting Literature


    With the objective of making people aware of the importance of voting, two Catholic Church-linked organizations, Cáritas do Brasil and Centro Pastoral Popular (CPP), have been distributing informative pamphlets throughout the country.


    The Caritas pamphlet, 45 pages long, entitled “Citizens Should Vote Consciously,” explains the voting process for young people and warns them of electoral corruption.


    The pamphlet, with a printing of 20,000, has been distributed in some other Latin American and African countries.


    The CPP pamphlet is 24 pages long, entitled “Your Vote is Worth Lives.”


    According to Domingos Prestes, a CPP spokesman, “The political process is dealt with in depth.


    People are told that elected officials have an obligation to their constituency. The vote is a democratic instrument and you cannot expect to improve the well-being of the nation if you do not vote,” says Prestes.


    Agência Brasil
    Translator: David Silberstein

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