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Brazil: 128 million vote on the anniversary of the Constitution

Queue in Santos, state of São Paulo. Photo by Flickr user Luana Garrido used with permission.

Over 128 million Brazilians are today choosing 5,563 mayors for cities and towns, and 52,137 city councilors. Despite the huge numbers, the electronic voting system adopted in the country means that the first results will be available as soon as the polls close, at 5 pm local time, and by tomorrow some cities will already know their elected representatives. If there’s not a 50% plus one vote winning margin in today’s voting for 79 cities with over 200,000 electors, run-off elections are scheduled for October 26.

Nice Pinheiro [pt] has just come back from the polls and said that everything is going smoothly in the small city where she lives in the state of Rio de Janeiro:

Acabei de chegar. Fui votar. Adoro votar. Faço questão de exercer minha cidadania. E lembro de todos os candidatos em quem votei. Não voto por votar. Nunca. Não anulo meu voto e muito menos voto em branco. É meu direito, e faço questão de preservá-lo e exercê-lo.

I just got back. I went to vote. I love voting. I make sure I exercise my citizenship. And I remember all the candidates I have voted for. I don't vote just for voting. Never. I don't nullify my vote, I would never vote blank. It is my right, and I want to preserve it and exercise it.

Campaign remains in Santos, state of São Paulo. Photo by Flickr user Luana Garrido used with permission.

Voting in Brazil is compulsory and every literate Brazilian whose age is over 18 years and less than 70 years is obliged to vote (except those who live in the Federal District and territory of Fernando de Noronha where there are no local elections). Not everyone likes the fact that voting is an obligation, like Cleber Rosa [pt]:

Chegou o dia em que somos obrigados a sair de casa, enfrentar uma fila e escolher entre candidatos que temos CERTEZA que não vão fazer nada para a melhoria de nossa cidade, estado ou país.
Alguns chamam isso de “exercer cidadania”, eu chamo de “nos obrigar a escolher entre o ruím e o pior”.

Today is the day that we are forced to leave our house, face a queue and choose between candidates that we are sure are going to do nothing to improve our city, state or country.
Some call it to “exercise citizenship,” I call it to “oblige us to choose between the bad or the worse.”

Patricia Marques [pt] agrees that voting should be a right, not an obligation:

Sei que ainda verei a mudança do voto obrigatório para o voto facultativo e nesse dia talvez irei sair de casa para votar com muito mais felicidade, me sentindo detentora de reais direitos políticos, me sentindo muito mais cidadã.

I know I will live to see the change of compulsory to optional voting and on that day I might leave home to vote with much more happiness, feeling that I hold real political rights, feeling I am much more citizen.

Lola Aronovich [pt] writes about all the good memories that elections bring her and wishes everyone a happy voting day:

Portanto, pra mim, há tanta emoção, tantas lembranças, tanta esperança, por trás de cada voto, que fica difícil entender quem não gosta de votar, quem sente saudades da ditadura, quem acha que um votinho não faz diferença. Eu sou apaixonada por eleições. Se meu conselho vale alguma coisa, vá à urna com orgulho e consciência e escolha quem você quer que te represente na câmara dos vereadores e quem você quer que governe a sua cidade. Que é sua, é nossa, vale lembrar. É nosso país, nosso planeta, e o único que temos. Bom voto!

So, for me, there's so much emotion, so many memories, so much hope, behind every vote, it is hard to understand those who don't like voting, those who miss the days of dictatorship, who think a little vote makes no difference. I love elections. If my advice is worth something, go to the ballot box with pride and conscience and choose the one you want to represent you in the House of Councilors and the one you want to govern your city. The city which is yours, which is ours, please note. It is our country, our planet and the only one we have. Good vote!

Upon the close of voting, at 5 pm today, Idelber Avelar [pt] will be covering the elections on his blog and invites everyone to participate:

Este post será atualizado várias vezes no dia de hoje, provavelmente a partir do final da tarde, com links, números e comentários sobre as eleições municipais brasileiras. São 5.563 municipios elegendo prefeitos e vereadores. No G-79, ou seja, as 26 capitais e outras 53 cidades com mais de 200.000 eleitores, pode haver segundo turno. Chegando das urnas, deixe aí o seu depoimento.

This post will be updated several times throughout the day today, probably from late afternoon, with links, numbers and comments on the Brazilian municipal elections. There are 5,563 cities electing their mayors and councilors. In the G-79, i.e., the 26 capitals and 53 cities with more than 200,000 electors, where there may be a second round. Upon arrival from the polls, leave your commentshere.

20 years of the Brazilian Constitution

The special day coincides with the 20th anniversary of the current Brazilian Constitution, known as the Citizen Constitution, the one which guaranteed human rights and restricted the state's ability to limit freedom – a reaction to the period of military dictatorship. Renata Pimenta [pt] reminds us that it is exactly because of this Constitution that Brazilians are able to go to the polls today:

A “Constituição Cidadã” foi responsável por devolver aos cidadãos seus direitos individuais, cassados pela Ditadura Militar (1964-1985). Graças ao novo documento, o povo brasileiro pôde votar para presidente em 1989, já que a Carta restabeleceu o voto direto nas eleições presidenciais. A Constituição anterior, de 1967, estabelecia plenos poderes para o governo militar.

The “Citizen Constitution” was responsible for giving back to people their individual rights, repealed by the military dictatorship (1964-1985). Thanks to the new document, Brazilian people could vote for president in 1989, as the Constitution had restored the direct vote in the presidential election. The previous Constitution of 1967 provided full powers to the military government.

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The images above are from a commemorative selection of photos from Agência Brasil, used under a Creative Commons License.

1 comment

  • Oi Paula,
    Ficou bem legal o artigo. Parabéns! Me vi em vários destes depoimentos entusiásticos, mas confesso que este ano eu desanimei!!!
    bjs.
    Deborah

    Translation by GVO

    Hello Paula, this is a cool article. Congratulations! I saw myself in many of these enthusiastic accounts, but I must confess this year I was not in the mood.
    Best
    Deborah

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