Justice Marco Aurélio meets with international correspondents

Justice Marco Aurélio, president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), received journalists from the foreign press in his office on February 6th.

Justice Marco Aurélio, president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), received journalists from the foreign press in his office on February 6th. As they engaged in a conversation, Justice Marco Aurélio noted that the greatest challenge to be addressed by the Electoral Court System in the 2014 Elections consists in raising voters’ awareness. The TSE president said that he regards the media and the work developed by journalists as allies to help raise voters’ awareness on the relevance of their choices for the coming elections.
He added that the TSE will organize campaigns to cover the issue and stressed the fact that electronic voting machines constitute the most effective means of protest to be used in the moment citizens are appointing their representatives.  “Voters must be aware of the relevance of their votes, as although casting a vote is an individual choice, it adds to the choices of many others and results in the election of people’s representatives”, said Justice Marco Aurelio, noting that “we will only build the Brazil we daydream of if eligible citizens do not refrain from voting, making abstention a form of protest, which I consider in fact a negative protest”.
Justice Marco Aurélio does not see society as a victim, but as an offender instead, as it is to be held responsible for the election of insufficiently prepared politicians. “Apathy cannot render our efforts useless, especially apathy of young Brazilians, who should vote because they believe in ideals and should therefore help build the country of their dreams”, he argued.
Regarding the protests, he noted that the results of the elections, which are to be held in October, may reflect the results of the dissatisfaction with the country’s hosting of the World Cup. According to the TSE president, Brazilians “tend to engage in some sort of vigilantism, putting the blame on the existing status quo”. As an example of such signs of distress, he mentioned the demonstrations against the interference in domestic matters of an international organization (FIFA), which was accused to be undermining Brazil’s sovereignty.
In response to questions posed by journalists, Justice Marco Aurélio also commented on optional voting. He affirmed that he understood voting as a right, not a duty. With regard to the funding of electoral campaigns, he said he was favorable to public funding only as opposed to the country’s existing regime, which established that private companies were eligible to make donations to both parties and candidates.
With respect to electronic voting machines, the TSE president pointed out that Brazil makes use of a system which prevents individuals to handle ballot papers, and such system has ultimately contributed to the safety of something that should be always respected, that is, the will of Brazilian voters. Regarding the possibility of Brazil exporting this voting model, he informed that a few protocols must be met before the Electoral Court System is entitled to share its expertise with other countries, enabling them to develop their own electronic voting machines.
The press conference was attended by Doris Calderon, of TV Telesur (Venezuela); Edgardo Loguercio, of the Xinhua News Agency (China); Ericka Galindo, of Deutsche Welle (Germany); Manuel Martinez, of Rádio Espectador (Uruguay); Raymond Collit, of the Bloomberg News Agency, and Marco Sibaja, of Associated Press.
According to Manuel Martinez, who has been covering Brazil’s elections since 1996, the talk with Justice Marco Aurelio “was quite clarifying, and addressed many aspects that make it easier for other countries to monitor the preparations for the elections in Brazil”. He also noted that “Justice Marco Aurélio adopted a rather clear, objective and enlightening approach, which even included a presentation on the technology developed by Brazil to design and operate the electronic voting machines”.  
Marco Sibaja said that the conference was very positive. “We have been monitoring Brazil because of the large number of scheduled events, which include the World Cup, the BRICS meeting, assorted major events, and also the elections. As a matter of fact, we cannot lose sight of the elections. Talking to Justice Marco Aurélio was extremely clarifying and helped us understand better the ongoing preparations for this great electoral event”, said the correspondent.
According to Edgar Loguercio, who has been monitoring elections in Brazil for 12 years, Justice Marco Aurélio emphasized the need to raise awareness on the relevance of voting and on the role played by voters in the definition of the country’s path. The journalist stressed that “it is obvious that this electoral year is of paramount importance for the country, especially because of ongoing political discussions that increased with population demands, notably as of last year”.