TSE seminar debates truths and myths regarding the electronic voting machine

Seminário sobre a segurança da urna eletrônica

This Wednesday morning (30th), the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) promoted the seminar “Segurança da Urna Eletrônica” (Safety of the Electronic Voting Machine). The event counted with the participation of journalists, academics, students, electoral judges and Technology professionals of the public sector.

The debates centered around the myths and truths involving the electronic voting machine.  The iniciative came from the principle that the device still generates doubts as to the safety it provides and its own way of functioning.

When opening the seminar, the president of TSE, justice Luiz Fux, stated that the Electoral Justice has been searching to control its acting based on the republican principles of morality and transparency.  Acoording to Fux, the citizen has greater participation in the democratic life in the moment of voting.  Because of that, it is necessary that the voter is certain that his conscious choice will be reliably portrayed in the voting machine.

After remembering that the electronic voting machine was implanted more than 20 years ago in Brazil, without registers of “errors” in its functioning, the judge recorded episodes of that time in which the vote was exclusevily prohibted and the canvas process was more vulnerable.  “The electronic voting machine, in a good time, came to bring means of defence for the society against these frauds,” he emphasized.

Auditing before the voting

The president also informed the participants of a novelty that will be adopted from the 2018 Elections: the auditing made in the voting day. “We will make this auditing in 27 states by randomly choosing the voting machines that will be audited, without a previous selection, so that there is no doubt of transparency,” he said.

The novelty will allow that some institutions and political parties can participate in this “inspection”.  The rules for this auditing were approved by the Plenary in an administative session of this Tuesday (29th).

IT Secretary

After the opening, the secretary of Information Technology of TSE, Giuseppe Janino, made a presentation on the evolution of the voting machine, since its initial conception.  Beside him, there was also the participation of two specialists that were also involved in the creation of the device: Osvaldo Catsumi Imamura, of the Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA), and Antonio Esio Salgado, of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

Giuseppe Janino has been a public server of TSE since 1996, year in which the voting machine was adopted for the first time in the entire country.  According to him, the voting process advanced in the same speed as technology and is also totaly safe and trustworthy.  He also clarified that the project of the electronic voting machine is not, as many say, of the company that constructs the voting machine.

“We put the requirements in the public notice, and the company that wins the public tender creates an authorship project of TSE.  A team of TSE servers accompaigns all the steps of the equipment’s production.  When the phase of tests arrives, the company is not able to test [the equipment] without our intervention,” he explained.

He highlighted, yet, that the voting machine is not conected to the Internet, since it is a device designed in order to not have any connection to the network.  “There is no component that can have any conection to the Internet. The voting data are transported to an electronic voting machine and then are transferred to an encrypted digital media, which is then taken to a transmission point.  Therefore, it is a mith to state that a hacker can invade the electronic voting machine,” he guaranteed.

The seminar’s mesa was also composed by the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, and the vice electoral attorney, Humberto Jacques de Medeiros.