Electronic voting machine software review period started on April 7th

As of 7 April), all computer software by the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) that will be used by the electronic voting machines during the vote may be consulted and analyzed by political parties, the Bar Association of Brazil (OAB) and the General Attorney's Office.

As of 7 April), all computer software by the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) that will be used by the electronic voting machines during the vote may be consulted and analyzed by political parties, the Bar Association of Brazil (OAB) and the General Attorney's Office. The procedure is established in the TSE Resolution that deals with the electoral calendar and by the Election Law itself (Law 9,504/1997, Article 66, paragraph 1).
The rules of the electoral system are implemented by means of computer software built into the "source code", or computer language translated into logical algorithms. Six months before the elections, the source codes are made available to political parties, the General Attorney's Office and the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB), which can check if the system is, in fact, performing as it should.
The planning advisor for the Department of Information Technology (ITS) of the TSE, Elmano Amancio de Sá Alves, explains that the voting machine is in essence a computer, and as such follows the commands received and allocated by it. “How do I know that the command given to the machine to allocate a vote is correctly being assigned to a candidate? The analysis of the source code is the time to identify where there is any malicious software that may be distorting the intended behavior of the voting machine," he explains.
According to Alves, every piece of election software used by the Electoral Court is enhanced to keep up-to-date with technological advancements. Currently, the entire contents of the commands and software contained within the electronic voting machines are developed by the TSE.
“The Brazilian electoral system is based on two pillars: the pillar of transparency and pillar of security. For us at the Superior Electoral Tribunal it is very important to ensure the participation of political parties and other entities defined in the Resolution, because that shows them, and consequently society, that this is an open, transparent, secure and reliable system that will truly respect the will of the citizens," he adds.
Sealing
The verification of the software to be installed in the voting machine has as its final deadline the signing and sealing ceremony of the electoral systems, which takes place 20 days before the elections (this year, on 17 September). "The sealing off ceremony is when the entire code compiled  (transformed into machine language) and sealed. The originals are kept in a safe and copies are distributed to the Regional Electoral Courts that will conduct the elections in their states. The software can be further verified by the political parties, who come here and 'sign' the code, verifying the authenticity of this software," said the STI's planning advisor.

Once the election is over, the political parties may also verify  the sources of the voting machine software in a special room opened for this purpose (through previous scheduling a date) located on the third floor of the TSE headquarters in Brasilia. Consultations to the software can then be made until the next electoral cycle.