All types of challenges mark the daily lives of indigenous citizens, an essential part of the Brazilian history and culture. In the scope of the Electoral Justice, efforts have been made so that Indians from many communities, including in remote places, can fulfill their right to choose their representatives by means of the vote.
At each election, technicians of the Electoral Justice face hours of travel in order to take to the villages, overland or over water, all the necessary structure so that citizens can vote. At least 85 thousand voters are apt to participate in this sections.
Indians, like the other citizens, must vote if they have more than 18 years of age and if they are literate in the Portuguese language. The Electoral Code (Law n. 4,737/1965) prohibits the electoral registration of those who do not speak Portuguese. However, in the case of Indians that live in villages that opt for not voting, this individual decision prevails over the obligatoriness of the Brazilian law.
The electoral registration is one of the obligatory requirements so that the voter can vote and receive a vote, in case he is a candidate. Through this procedure, the citizen receives the voter's card and is apt to register its choices on the election day.
The Indian who wishes to vote must follow the same procedure that any citizen and respect certain particularities. The Indian that does not have the official documents that are demanded.,must present, as a valid document, the corresponding administrative register that is issued by the National Indian Foundation (Funai).
However, the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) assured the optional electoral registration of Indians that, according to “Estatuto do Indio” (Indian Statute), are considered isolated and on the way of integration. According to the decision, lettered Indians can register themselves as voters but are not subject to the payment of fine because of the electoral registration’s delay. This orientation is provided for in Art. 16 of Resolution n. 21,538/2003 of TSE.
The Indian that has registered himself and has his voter’s card, can be a candidate. In 2016, 1,715 candidates declared themselves as indigenous. The greatest part of the requests for register was in the north region of the country - with 648 Indians -, followed by northeast (411), mid-west (284), southeast (208) and south, with 114 candidacy registers. From the total of candidates, only 173 were elected. The number is small when compared to the total population of Brazil, which is around 800 thousand Indians.
However, the effort of the Electoral Justice in order to take citizenship and information to this important part of the population does not cease. Usually, the regional courts throughout the country conduct work with this communities. On February of this year, for example, TRE Tocantis took the Indian from the ethnicity Krahô, which lives in villages Cachoeira and Pedra Branca, located in the 32nd Electoral Zone of Goiatins, the project Inclusão Sociopolítica dos Povos Indígenas (Sociopolitical Inclusion of Indigenous People).