Brazil introduced electronic voting machines in its electoral system as an experiment in the 1996 municipal elections. According to Giuseppe Janino, the Superior Electoral Court’s Director of Technology, the machine had to meet certain requirements related to both safety and user experience. “It had to prevent anyone from accessing its system, while being easy to use, thus allowing illiterate voters to use it,” he said.
And that’s how the design of the Brazilian voting machine was conceived. Instead of choosing a name and marking an ‘X’, voters would instead type a number, and the candidate’s face, name, and party would appear. If the correct info pops up, voters hit a large, green button marked “CONFIRM” to cast their ballot, like in the explanatory video released by electoral authorities in 2014:
Simple, right? Well, it was, before the era of fake news. Now, supporters of some of the highest-profile campaigns are using social media – notably Facebook and WhatsApp Messenger (which has become one of the main forms of communication in Brazil) – to deceive voters and trick them into voting for one candidate, while thinking they are voting for another.