11 days left for the General Elections of 2018: check out the differences between the majority and proportional systems

2018. urna

Candidates disputing the elections in Brazil, depending of the office, are elected by two different systems: proportional and majority. The ones running for President of the Republic, State Governor, Mayor and Senator are elected by the majority system. The ones running for Federal, State or District Deputy and City Councilman obtain their posts by the proportional system.

On the elections by the majority system, the candidate elected is the one that receives the biggest amount of valid votes, that is, excluded blank and null votes. In case of the elections for President and Governor, if none of the candidates reach half plus one (absolute majority) of the valid votes during the first term, the legislation determines that the two most voted candidates dispute the second term, being elected the one that reaches, in this new stage, the preference of electors. On this year’s general elections, the first term will be held on October 7th and, if needed be, the second term will take place on October 28th.

The biggest amount of the elections for mayor, that also occur by the majority system, are defined in the first term of the elections, being the most voted candidate elected for the office. The second term only happens at the municipalities with more than 200 thousand voters, when none of the candidates receives more than half plus one of the valid votes in the first term. In that case, the two candidates with more votes dispute the second term. In 2016 elections, 55 cities of the country had a second term for electing their mayors.

Also in the elections for the Federal Senate, it is elected the candidate with more valid votes. In 2018 elections, each of the 26 States plus the Federal District will elect two senators, totalizing 54 places in dispute. That is, the two candidates with more votes in each State and the Federal District will be elected on October 7th. There is no second term in an election for Senator.

The 2018 General Elections are held for choosing Presidential, Executive State, as well as Federal, State and District Legislative posts. Besides, there will be held municipal elections in nine States (AM, CE, GO, MA, MT, RJ, RS, SC and SP) on October 28th. Those are called supplementary elections, that occur when the regular election is annulled by decision of the Electoral Court.


Proportional System

In case of elections by the proportional system, that is, Federal deputy, State/District Deputy and Councilmen, the party/coalition are the ones that receive the post, not the candidate. In that case, the voter chooses the candidate between those presented by a political party or coalition.

Regarding the coalitions, they present a list with the names of all candidates and the respective parties that are part of it. However, when many different parties form a coalition (from that point it starts to be treated as if it was a unique party), a new name is not created (or number that represents the entire coalition). The parties hold on to their numbers and names.

The electors that vote on the number of their party during the election lend, by the proportional system, their votes for the coalition to which that party belongs. That is due to the fact that the calculation of the election quotient is made based on all the votes received by the candidates and the parties that compose the coalition.


Ticket vote

The ticket vote can be given to the party only in the proportional system. If the voter wishes to vote only in the party, without specifying which of the candidates in the ticket the voter seeks to elect, it is sufficient for the voter to enter the first two digits of the candidate's number, which is precisely the number of the political party.

The totalization of votes in the proportional system adopted by Brazil and its transformation into vacancies in the legislative houses takes place in stages. The electoral quotient is calculated first (article 106 of the Electoral Code). Following, the party quotient (article 107 of the Electoral Code). Finally, if necessary, the distribution of electoral reminiscent (article 109 of the Electoral Code) is carried out. Only the party - or the coalition - that reaches a minimum number of votes has the right to obtain a seat in the Legislative House. This explains the fact that sometimes a candidate receives many votes but is not elected because his or her party has not reached the minimum number of votes required in the calculation of the electoral quote.