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The Second Republic

The Revolution of 1930, originated from the crisis of the 20’, had as one of its principles the moralization of the electoral system. One of the first acts of the provisional Government was the creation of a commission to reform the electoral legislation, which resulted in the first Brazilian Electoral Code.

The Electoral Code of 1932 created the Electoral Justice, which became responsible for the whole electoral process: enrollment, organization of the voting boards, vote count, acknowledgement and proclamation of the elects. Moreover, it regulated the federal, state and municipal elections in the entire country.

The Code introduced the secret ballot, the feminine vote and the system of proportional representation in two simultaneous rounds. For the first time, the electoral legislation made reference to political parties, but independent candidacies were still admitted. This code already planned the use of the voting machine, which only came to be in the 90's.

The Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932 demanded the convocation of a national Constituent Assembly, which was done by Decree No. 22621/1933; in addition to the deputies elected in the form prescribed by the Electoral Code, it established other 40 representatives to be chosen by unions legally recognized and by associations of independent professionals and public servants. This was known as the labor representation.

The advances in the electoral legislation were included in the Constitution of 1934, even the labor vote, which was rejected by the Electoral Justice. Around the same time, President Getúlio Vargas was elected through indirect elections, as regulated by the Constitution.

Criticism against the Electoral Code of 1932 led to the promulgation of the second code in 1935, Law No. 48, which replaced the first one without altering the conquests achieved until then.

On November 10th, 1937, with the support of reactionary groups, Getúlio announced a "new order" for the country. That very day he imposed the "Polish" Constitution of 1937, as it became known. It extinguished the Electoral Justice, abolished the existent political parties, suspended free elections and established the indirect election for President of the Republic, with a mandate of six years.

This "new order", historically known as the New State, had the opposition of intellectuals, students, ecclesiastics and businessmen. In 1945, Getúlio announced the general elections and indicated Minister of War Eurico Gaspar Dutra as his candidate for President. The military leaders and the opposition mobilized and organized the coup of October 29th, 1945.

The military Ministers deposed Getúlio and handed the government to the President of the Federal Supreme Court, José Linhares - who was also President of the TSE - until the election and installation of General Dutra as the new President of the Republic in January 1946. This was the end of the New State.

The process of reestablishment of the democratic system in Brazil began in the final period of the New State and was consolidated during the Dutra administration. In spite of the repression, the fight for redemocratization was intensified mainly from the beginning of 1945, after the launching of the "Minas Gerais' Manifesto" by a group of intellectuals.

Governing under constant pressure, Getúlio Vargas sanctioned Constitutional Law No. 9/1945, which changed several articles of the Constitution, including those that regulated elections. Elections were called and a 90-day term was fixed for electing the President and state Governors, as well as for the parliament and the state assemblies.

Decree Law No. 7586/1945 (known as Agamenon's Law, in honor of the Minister of Justice Agamenon Magalhães, responsible for its draft) reestablished the Electoral Justice, regulating the electoral enrollment and the elections in the country.

On the way to redemocratization, with the Electoral Justice already reinstituted, President Eurico Gaspar Dutra took office and the National Constituent Assembly of 1945 was elected.

After the Constitution was promulgated on September 18th, 1946, the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate began to operate as ordinary Legislative Power.

Like the Constitution of 1934, the new one confirmed the Electoral Justice among the branches of the Judicial Power and prohibited candidates from running in more than one state.

Bringing the political parties' exclusive prerogative of presenting candidates as its great innovation, the Electoral Code of 1945 remained in force, with few changes, until the advent of the Electoral Code of 1950.

In 1955, Law No. 2550 created the individual register of voters, which fixed the voter in the same electoral section and condemned the use of false voter's registration certificates and reissued certificates obtained in a deceitful way, among other frauds. A significant change in the Electoral Code of 1950 was the adoption of a "unique ballot paper." Both were suggestions made by Minister Edgard Costa.

The official ballot paper preserved the freedom and secrecy of vote, facilitated the voting count and helped in the combat against economic power by liberating candidates from excessive expenses with the printing and distribution of ballots.