Justice Carlos Velloso - The history of Brazilian voting machines

Minister of the Superior Electoral Court.

How to bring fraud in election campaigns to an end? That critical question motivated the Electoral Court system to embrace the idea of making use of electronic voting machines. Justice Carlos Velloso, responsible for implementing this alternative between 1994 and 1996, the time he chaired the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), tells more about this story in the fourth episode of “A fresh look at the time – Memories of Democracy”. “We had to literally undertake a crusade to prove that it was feasible to make use of a computerized system for voters to cast their vote, as there was an overall disbelief about that possibility, even among peers”, he recalls. Thanks to such approach, the initiative obtained nationwide support.  
The second segment of the program features a conversation with Paulo Camarão, who served as IT secretary of that project. As studies on the manufacturing of electronic voting machines were being carried out, Justice Carlos Velloso met with representatives from numerous foreign companies interested in selling voting machines to Brazil. He has turned down all such contract offers. “I rejected those offers. We would manufacture a Brazilian voting machine instead. Simple and inexpensive. And we did it!”, he proudly concludes.  
In May 1996, 400 electronic voting machines were distributed across the country, enabling citizens from more than 50 different municipalities to participate in Brazil’s first computerized elections, which were held in October that year.
In 2005, during the second mandate of Justice Carlos Velloso as TSE’s president, the digital identification project, which aimed at improving computerized elections, was launched. The project was further enhanced and implemented by the various administrations that followed.
Justice Carlos Velloso claims to have learned early about the relevance of the Electoral Court system, as at the age of 18 he would work as clerk at a notary’s office, and was responsible for the counting of votes. He sums it up in an emotional statement: “The Electoral Court system rests in the heart of this old judge, who is now a legal practitioner”.
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.]