The electronic voting machine has extinguished cases of fraud in the elections

Urna eletrônica

Developed by the Electoral Court in order to meet the Brazilian reality, the electronic voting machine began to be gradually implemented in the country as of the 1996 municipal elections. The adoption of the equipment sought to increase the security of the election disputes by eliminating human intervention in the electoral process, both in the voting and in the canvas of the results.

In the 2000 elections, all voters already voted through the electronic voting machine. It marked the end of voting through ballots, which, after the end of the election dispute, had to be publicly counted in rooms crowded with servers and collaborators of the Electoral Justice, volunteers, party auditors and the press.

A human work that consumed hours, days and even weeks, which was subject to various types of frauds and error, as recalls the secretary of Information Technology of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), Giuseppe Janino. He recalls the fraud that occurred in the 1982 gubernatorial election of Rio de Janeiro, which involved Proconsult, a company that was hired to count the votes. “At the time, it was demonstrated that there was a deviation of votes in the final phase of the investigation, which was outside of the effective control of the Electoral Court,” he reports.  

Even when the canvas was not done by third persons, there were various means of fraud, such as blank ballot papers filled in favor of a particular candidate, null votes interpreted according to the intent of the reader, subtraction of ballots, among other practices. “The Brazilian election was a totally discredited scenario with a lot of slowness, errors and consolidated frauds,” said the secretary.

In the old electoral process, problems were common even before the counting of votes. There was the “voto formiguinha” (ant vote) strategy, in which one of the first voters who appeared in the electoral section would receive the ballot from the clerk, entered the voting booth and, instead of filling it and depositing it, kept the blank ballot and put a random paper in the canvas urn. Another person outside the section received the official ballot, marked out the desired candidates, and handed it to another voter. The latter had the task of depositing the completed ballot, taking another blank and returning it to the person who organized the scheme. 

There was also the tactic of the “urnas emprenhadas” (impregnated ballot box) since the urns were fragile and had only a simple padlock and paper seals with no security requirement for verifying violability. "Ballots were inserted there before the voting began, that is, the ballot box that should have been empty actually came with votes inside," observed Janino.

Modern and 100% Brazilian

Preventing any interference in the will of the voter and ensuring the secrecy of the vote are constitutional precepts that serve as goals for the TSE. In this sense, the electronic voting machine emerged as a modern and safe product, genuinely Brazilian, which remains to be constantly improved.

It is a result of the dedication of highly qualified professionals, not only from the Electoral Justice, but also from other state bodies, such as the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), the Army, the Aeronautics (Department of Aerospace Science and Technology - DCTA) the Navy and the Center for Research and Development in Telecommunications (CPqD).

From 2008, the Electoral Justice began to implement the biometric registration of voters, which identifies the voters through fingerprints, further increasing the security of the suit. Today, more than 81 million voters are registered in the biometric system throughout the country.

Thanks to the electronic voting machine, the current automated process allows Brazilians to know who won the election a few hours after the end of voting. In addition to saving time, the voting machine saves energy and resources that were previously spent on several days of the canvas.

But security is its great advantage since it avoids tampering, makes voter identification impossible and has no connection to the Internet or any network device. In addition, the electronic voting machine has several interlocking security barriers that make election fraud highly unlikely, especially in the short time for the transmission of data during aggregation.