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Brazil's Supreme Court Suspends Requirement of Paper Votes in This Year's Elections

06/07/2018 - 10h54




With eight votes in favor and two against, the majority of Brazil's Supreme Court decided to suspend the implantation of paper ballots in this year's elections and only electronic ballot boxes will be used.

On Wednesday, June 6, the members of the Supreme Court made a decision on the injunction following a Direct Action on Unconstitutionality (ADI, in Portuguese) filed by the country's Attorney General, Raquel Dodge, who had questioned a part of the short electoral reform made by the Congress in 2015.

The rapporteur of the case, Justice Gilmar Mendes, spoke ironically as he cited the idea that the elections in Brazil are a fraud. "After the statements made here [by those who defend paper votes], we have to believe that perhaps we did not actually reach the moon. There are beliefs and even a religion around this theme," he said.

However, Justice Mendes believes that it is up to the Congress to make a decision on the subject, as long as the implementation of paper votes is done gradually and according to the resources available.

Walterson Rosa/FramePhoto/Folhapress
Brazil's Supreme Court
Brazil's Supreme Court

The Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) had already established that the implementation would have to be gradual due to money shortage and begin this year with 5% of the total 30,000 ballot boxes used. The cost to adapt 100% of the ballot boxes is estimated by the TSE in nearly R$ 2 billion (US$ 524 million).

The amendment that called for the use of paper votes in 2015 was filed by Congressman Jair Bolsonaro (PSL-RJ), who is likely to run for president this year. He has often said that paper votes are the main measure to guarantee the honesty of this year's elections and, without them, there will be frauds.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

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