Voting in Brazil is compulsory for all literate citizens over 18 and under 70, and optional for citizens who are aged 16 and 17, are older than 70 or are illiterate.
Brazil currently has a total of 142,822,046 voters. In age terms, 480,044 of them are 16 years old, 1,158,707 are 17, 7,020,649 are aged 70 to 79 and 3,804,161 are above 79. A total 7,389,545 million people are illiterate. Adding up all of those, one arrives at a total of 19,853,106 voters for whom voting is optional.
Voters who are not required to vote and fail to attend the polls for three consecutive elections (each round in a two-round vote is considered an election) may have their Voter ID canceled. Without it, voters may be prevented, for example, from borrowing from government-owned financial institutions, obtaining a passport or taking public office if approved in a civil service test.
Compulsory voting in Brazil dates back to 1932, with the enactment of that year's Electoral Code, and was reiterated by Brazil's current Federal Constitution, enacted in 1988. Voting, according to experts, translates the right to choose and reflects the democratic ideals.
The 1988 Constitution's provisions on political rights are in Articles 14 to 16, which were enacted with the purpose of regulating the performance of popular sovereignty. Political rights, as described in such provisions, refer to an individual's prerogative to participate in governance matters, including through the vote, plebiscites and referenda.