The latest Datafolha poll, published last Friday, showed that 30 percent of people who intend to vote for far-right President Jair Bolsonaro do not know his numerical code on Brazil’s electronic voting machines.
Electoral numbers have been a fundamental part of Brazilian elections since electronic voting was first introduced in the country in 1996. Brazilians need to type in the numbers of candidates on a keypad similar to a phone. Each political party is given a two-digit code — which corresponds to their candidates’ voting numbers.
In 2018, Mr. Bolsonaro ran as a candidate for the now-defunct Social Liberal Party (PSL), which used the number 17 in voting machines. Mr. Bolsonaro became heavily associated with the number 17, and messages such as “Bolsonaro 17” and “B17” were featured on t-shirts and even tattoos.
This election, however, Mr. Bolsonaro is running as a candidate of the Liberal Party (PL), founded in 2006 and the largest contingent of the so-called “Big Center,” a group of ideology-fluid rentier parties. The Liberal Party uses the number 22, but many of Mr. Bolsonaro’s voters are not yet aware of this change.
Conversely, only 17 percent of people polled by Datafolha who intend to vote for frontrunner and former president Luiz Inácio da Lula da Silva do not know his electoral number. His Workers’ Party has always used the number 13.
Printed lists with the numbers of all candidates are placed at every polling station on Election Day.
Electoral ads from the Bolsonaro camp have sought to emphasize the candidate’s new number. An indication that they pay close attention to the polls after all, despite publicly trying to discredit them.