The Electoral Court system – an example to be followed

“The most effective tool available for citizens to help shape a country’s path”. That is the definition given by Justice Gilmar Mendes, who chaired the Superior Electoral Court from February to April of 2006, to the right to vote in Brazilian democracy.

“The most effective tool available for citizens to help shape a country’s path”. That is the definition given by Justice Gilmar Mendes, who chaired the Superior Electoral Court from February to April of 2006, to the right to vote in Brazilian democracy. In the ninth episode of the documentary series “A fresh look at the time – Memories of Democracy”, Justice Gilmar Mendes talks about numerous topics related to the Electoral Court system, advocating a more moderate intervention in political relations. “I am in favor of the establishment of a certain kind of preclusion. In case the Electoral Court system fails to rule a certain issue, the case should be closed after a year. Perhaps investing as much as possible in preventive actions and ensuring equal opportunities to all helped avoid excesses. Nevertheless, I am aware that it is easier said than done. We have a punishing culture. Such kind of intervention should be qualified, not trivialized”, he says.
In the second segment of the program, during a conversation with Counsel Walter Costa Porto, the former TSE president explains how he currently defines the Electoral Court system. According to Justice Gilmar Mendes, the Electoral Court system consists of a unique model, a remarkable experience that should be replicated in other sectors: “if it was possible to design a successful framework for the Electoral Court system, why not expand it to the entire court system? Why not keeping an electronic control of prison inmates? If the Electoral Court system was capable of bringing voting machines to remote Indian reservations, enabling native Brazilians to exercise their right to vote, why not changing, for instance, the scope of sentence execution? And we could work on such analysis in order to encompass other aspects as well”.
The documentary series called “A fresh look at the time – Memories of Democracy” is an historical review of Brazil’s Electoral Court system. Former presidents of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), who helped build and strengthen Brazilian democracy, get to comment on the recent history of the Electoral Court system, narrate events that affected the country and share stories from behind the scenes. Testimonies of those who experienced moments that have defined the country’s advances and were connected with the relevance of the right to vote, the freedom to choose one’s democratic representatives, and the organization of clean and transparent elections.
The programs are posted on TSE’s official Youtube page (http://www.youtube.com/justicaeleitoral) after being broadcasted by the “TV Justiça” (Justice TV). [Translator’s Note1: The “TV Justiça”, or “Justice TV” in English, is a public television channel owned by Brazil’s judicial branch and operated by the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF). Aimed at promoting greater transparency of STF’s proceedings and decisions, the channel is mainly dedicated to the live broadcasting of the court’s judgments, but includes news, debates, documentaries and related programs in the schedule.]