“Brazil is honored to contribute to this forum, bringing its almost 20 years of experience with e-vote”, said Justice Dias Toffoli, president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) during his address at “Democracy Rebooted: The Future of Technology in Elections”, a conference held in Washington, D.C. on Friday (9).
Speaking in the panel called “New democracies, new technology”, Justice Dias Toffoli pointed to the relevance of having “high-tech mechanisms” in place to ensure the management of a large range of electoral procedures, so that voters´ intentions are protected and reflected in election results, and electoral fraud is prevented.
He also spoke about Brazil´s successful computerized elections experience, noting that e-voting systems depend on the particular conditions and characteristics of each country. He explained Brazilian electoral law, and pointed that according to Brazil´s Federal Constitution, the Federal Government has exclusive power to legislate on Electoral Law, which results in the entry into force of nationwide enforceable statutes, applicable to both general and municipal elections.
The president of the TSE delivered further explanation on the role of Electoral Courts in Brazil to conference attendants, noting that in addition to adjudicating cases and issuing orders, these Courts are also responsible for organizing domestic elections. “Registered voters, including Native Brazilians from remote tribes in the Amazon, cast their vote in e-voting machines every time an election is held”, he emphasized.
Justice Dias Toffoli added that in difficult-to-access locations, the transmission of data is made via satellite systems to compensate for the lack of cables and communication networks.
According to Dias Toffoli, the Brazilian e-voting experience leads to the conclusion that the quest for innovative solutions based on new technologies is more effective whenever poor infrastructure comes combined with great difficulties.
“The adoption of a computerized system is also a result of the continuous quest for solutions to problems that challenged the integrity of our elections in the past, including issues like: inappropriate human intervention, delays, errors and fraud charges”, he said.
On the following Tuesday (13), prior to flying back to Brazil, Justice Dias Toffoli is expected to visit the Supreme Court of the United States and meet with Justice Anthony Kennedy, one of the nine Justices of that U.S. Court. Next, he will gather with Nestor Mendez and Francisco Guerrero, who are respectively assistant secretary general and secretary for the strengthening of democracy at the Organization of American States (OAS).