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Legal scholars propose voting app for 2020 election

. May 20, 2020
2020 election coronavirus Photo: Gabriel Ramos/Shutterstock

The Covid-19 pandemic has upended Brazil’s 2020 municipal election, originally scheduled for October. As we explained in our March 30 Weekly Report, the Brazilian electoral system is, by design, unfit for a pandemic period — with long lines of people kept in confined spaces, touching the same voting machines. Congress has finally addressed the issue, seeking an alternative to postponing the vote, thus avoiding an extension to the terms of incumbent mayors and councilors.

A study by the Brazilian Electoral and Political Law Academy (Abradep) proposes alternatives for the elections, including a digital voting system available to part of the electorate. Brazil’s electoral courts are no stranger to technology, with the country’s electronic voting system among the quickest and most efficient in the world. Moreover, 81 percent of the electorate have supplemented their voting records with biometric data, and electoral registration took place online this year, with voters sending selfies and scanned documents.

Supreme Court Justice Luís Roberto Barroso — who will become the presiding justice at the Superior Electoral Court next week — has admitted the possibility of implementing a smartphone application-based voting system in the short-term future. 

However, preparing such a digital election in a matter of months may not be enough to avoid fraud and security glitches.

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Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist, Gustavo has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. He has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets and founded The Brazilian Report in 2017. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

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