In 1985, a computerized election database was implemented by the Superior Electoral Court, while the electronic voting machine as conceived today was only developed in 1995 and first used in municipal elections the following year. In 1989, in Brusque (SC), where Judge Carlos Prudencio held the first voting experience with micro-computers.
In preparing the project of electronic voting machines in 1995, the TSE has formed a technical committee led by researchers at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and the Aerospace Technical Center (CTA) in São José dos Campos, which defined a specification of functional requirements.
The first name of the electronic voting machine was "electronic collector of votes" (CEV). The purpose of the machine was to identify alternatives to automate the voting process and define the necessary measures for its implementation, starting from the 1996 elections in over 50 municipalities. The equipment, responsible for 100% of the automation of the elections, was then released in Brazil in 1996 and, nowadays, serves as a model for many other countries.
In March 2009, the TSE received a technology award for the contribution in the development of electronic voting machines. The award was the result of a partnership between the University of São Paulo (USP), the George Washington University and the Business Software Alliance (BSA). The BSA is an organization that brings together institutions and companies in the area of information technology and promotes this event to highlight ideas that are unprecedented in the world.
The electronic voting machine is a special microcomputer created with the purpose of making elections safer and the counting of votes quicker. It has the following features:
- Tough, with small dimensions, lightweight, with energy independence and security features.
- Two terminals constitute the electronic voting machine: the terminal of the poll worker, where the voter is identified and authorized to vote and, in some models of voting machine, where your identity is verified through biometric, and the voter’s terminal, which is recorded numerically the vote.
- The poll worker’s terminal has a numeric keypad, where is typed the number of voter registration, and a liquid crystal display, which appears the name of the voter, if it belongs to that electoral sections and if he is able to vote. Before the license, in the sections where there is biometric identification, the voter has his identity validated by the voting machine. Thus, a voter cannot vote for another one.
- The voting machine only records the indication that the voter has already voted. By internal shuffling and other security mechanisms, there is no possibility to verify which candidate a voter voted, in respect to the Brazilian Federal Constitution, which determines the secrecy of vote.
- Three small visual signals assist the pull worker, informing him that the terminal is available to the voter, if already completed his vote and if the voting machine is working connected to the electrical current or internal battery.
- The voter’s terminal has the numeric keypad, which is registered the vote, and a liquid crystal display, which are recorded messages that guide the voter to register his vote.
In 2011 and 2012, the TSE conducted the second stage of the electoral re-registration for biometrics, which aims to enable even more Brazilian voters to vote at the electronic voting machines with biometric reader already in the municipal elections of 2012. Only in 2011 were summoned to appear on the electoral registry offices for re-registration over 8 million voters in 235 Brazilian cities.
This second phase is planned in the TSE Resolution No. 23335 of February 22, 2011. In the first phase of this second stage of the electoral review for biometric identification, were summoned more than 6.2 million voters. These locations are defined in Provision No. 3/2011 of the General-Internal Affairs Division of Election (CGE).
Dozens of other towns began to conduct the biometric review of the voters in the second half of 2011 and the first half of 2012, integrating the second phase of the second stage of re-registration. The locations are defined in the Provisions No. 6/2011, No. 8/2011, No. 10/2011, No. 1/2012 and No. 2/2012 of the CGE.
The preliminary overview released by the coordination of the project of biometric identification of the voter, developed by the Electoral Justice, reveals that over 7.5 million brazilian voters may already be identified through fingerprints in municipal elections in 2012.
Up to 2018, the TSE believes that all municipalities in the country can hold elections with biometric identification.
The electoral revision to biometric identification features of the technology called "Bio Kits," with devices that captures photos, digital scanner to capture fingerprints, carry case and scenario (mini-photo studio with a seat). For the 2012 municipal elections, the Electoral Justice to include into the procedure of collecting fingerprints of a "pad" for the digital signature of the voter.
With the Bio Kit, the team trained of Electoral Justice conducts the collection of fingerprints, in addition to the photography of voters to quickly and easily way, without major difficulties in handling. A high-resolution scanner allows a reading of fingerprint, and a computer program makes the quality control automatically.
The Electoral Justice today has more than 4900 biometric kits, and in 2011, part of Bio Kits, 350, were provided by the bank, Caixa Econômica Federal (CEF), through an agreement signed with the Court. Under the agreement, the biometric data already registered or which may be registered by the Electoral Justice will be shared with the CEF in order to improve care for millions of beneficiaries of social programs of the Federal Government.