2022 Race

Brazilian social democrats get new voting app after primaries fiasco

primaries social democrats
From the left: João Doria, Arthur Virgílio, and Eduardo Leite. Photo: João Doria press service

The Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) tried to hold presidential primaries on Sunday, but their efforts ended in an undisputed fiasco. With a bug in the party’s specially developed voting app and accusations of vote-buying between candidates, the result was a suspended vote that made the party seem amateurish and as fractured as ever.

On Tuesday, the PSDB announced it would hire a new tool to allow its 44,700 registered voters to choose who will represent the party in the 2022 elections. The frontrunners are governors João Doria of São Paulo and Eduardo Leite of Rio Grande do Sul. 

The new voting app was developed by RelataSoft, a tech company which is part of the Superior Electoral Court’s project for developing electronic voting machines — Brazil’s national system is 100-percent electronic and has never faced credible fraud accusations. The original app, developed by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, allowed only 8 percent of party members to cast their votes on Sunday.

The party will test the new platform on Wednesday and hopes to zero in on a single candidate by November 28. Still, sourness between the candidates means any form of post-primary unity is unlikely.