For the first time ever, a mission of international observers linked to the Organization of American States (OAS) will monitor the Brazilian electoral process – the first round is scheduled for October 7, when Brazil is set to elect a new president, 513 congressmen, 54 senators, 27 governors, and over 1,000 state lawmakers.
This kind of mission is more common in countries where electoral results are more contested and elections are marked by accusations of fraud, violence, institutional turmoil, or social conflicts. Recently, the Venezuelan election that kept the increasingly anti-democratic Nicolás Maduro government in power – and that was challenged by his opposition – was followed by international observers.
However, even in more established democracies, such as in the U.S., they can happen. It is worth remembering that, only 18 years ago, the American election was tainted by a highly questioned, bitter recount battle in Florida, which was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, giving the victory to George W. Bush over Al Gore. In his book Too Close to Call, New Yorker magazine writer and CNN pundit Jeffrey Toobin wrote:
“The wrong man was inaugurated on January 20, 2001, and this is no small thing in our nation’s history. The bell of this election can never be unrung, and the sound will haunt us for some time.”