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Election day

Next Sunday we’ll have election for mayors and cities councils. My country is a representative democracy, where people choose its representatives through direct elections. Voting is obligatory for everybody between 18 and 70 years who know to read and write. Illiterates and people with more than 70 don't need to vote. Kids between 16 and 18 years can vote if they want, but it's not obliged. During a long time my country used votes in paper: the voter filled the ballot with the number or name of the candidate or party and deposited it in a ballot box. Since 1996, we use electronic ballot boxes similar to the one at photo

We type the numbers of the candidates or the party. Voting is private, nobody knows who voted in who. There’s the possibility of nuling or blanking votes too, if none of candidates are considered trustable by voters. It’s simple and legal, the boxes are controlled by Judiciary institutions such as the Superior Court of Justice and the Electoral Superior Court. And of course it’s faster than in the past, when ballots had to be counted one by one – at most part of Brazilian cities elected candidates are known about 2 hours after election.
Before the elections, during a period determined for law, the candidates make their campaigns. It’s the possibility they have to say everything they intend to do when elected. Many politicians prefer to use this chance to attack their enemies campaigns, though. Generally it’s an annoying time, many candidates use cars or trucks with potent sound equipments at streets to tell the world their intentions. It’s not funny to wake up at 8 a.m. during Sundays listening to them! Anyway things are really better this year: in the past they used to advertise their names and numbers everywhere, and cities were awfully dirty like that

Yes, after election nobody remembered to go back and clean the city, which is a very bad behaviour to someone who pretends to take care of city/state/country after being elected. Whatever, this year, at least at my state, Electoral Justice and candidates agreed to keep elections relatively “clean”, which means they can put their faces only at places previously decided, or at private buildings (if owners agree to that). It’s been considered the cleanest election of history, and candidates who refused to follow these directions were penalized, just like their parties. So my city’s been like that

Those guys are paid to carry candidates ads all through the city and to wave their flags

I’ll take part on election not only as a voter, but working too, I’ll be president of an electoral section. That’s the place where people vote, and it’s composed by 4 or 5 board members nominated for the judge of the electoral court amongst the idoneous citizens of the community (OMG, if they knew about my fannish life, LOL...). In the electoral section there’s a electronic ballot box, and the members are divided in president (me, myself and I), mesários (who substitute the president) and secretaries. That’s not a hard work but it’s boring, I’ll be there from 6 a.m. until time to drive the ballots boxes to Electoral Justice central – if nothing wrong happens it’ll be about 7 p.m. There’s a compensation for that lost Sunday, though: according to legislation sections board members have the right of being absent from work from 2 to 5 days, depending on their function during Sunday. As a president I’ll have 5 days off legally. As we probably won’t decide who will be Niterói next mayor on only one day there’ll be election again at October 31st, so I’ll have 10 days... to be spent on my next holidays... which means I’ll be 40 days to enjoy myself next January or February (I’m not sure when I’ll have holidays yet). Not bad at all for a lost Sunday!!! *g*


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 1st, 2004 08:33 am (UTC)
Very interesting! And wonderful pics, too.
Thank you for sharing!
Oct. 1st, 2004 09:09 am (UTC)
Illiterates and people with more than 70 don't need to vote

Do you mean that they *can* vote if they want but that it's not mandatory, or that they're forbidden to vote? Which would be especially unfair!!!
Oct. 1st, 2004 06:03 pm (UTC)
They can vote, Aline, here when you're 18 you've to register yourself as a voter, and keep voting until your 70th birthday. Voting ID is a legal document, if you don't have a good reason for not having yours you can even be sued by Electoral Justice. After voting people receive a paper, a kind of receipt, it's also a legal document that proves you voted. If you're far from your city you can justify why you're not voting, if you're sick you have to justify your absence later... well, it's a very serious subject here, maybe because we had those dictatorial years, so Electoral Justice tries to cover all its bases and to protect people's right of voting. It can be really boring to lose a Sunday, politicians aren't trustable people at all but I'm glad we can vote to choose them!
Back to your question: illiterates and senior citizens don't have to vote. Reasons to that: there are many senior citizes with health difficulties, sometimes they don't walk too well anymore, or don't walk at all, so they won't face Electoral Justice for not voting. Illiterates can be easy convinced to vote in candidate X or Y, it's supposed they can't understand perfectly in which they're voting because they can't read candidates ads, but if they want, they vote - they just have to know the number of the guy. That's how the box works: we type the candidate's number, than his/her picture and name appears. If that's our candidate we just confirm it by pressing the green bottom. Illiterates can do that, as long as they know the right number to type.
And I'm glad you liked the photos! :o)
Oct. 2nd, 2004 11:00 pm (UTC)
Everybody I know has worked at least once in an Election day. It seems like I'm the only one who was never called. Maybe I'm not that idoneous O_o Not that I'm complaining, though.

Anywaaaaaay... I'm baffled as to how your English improved through these last few months. Keep it up!! ^^
Oct. 4th, 2004 12:51 am (UTC)
LOL - you know, huge parts of this post were generated by BabelFish, I couldn't find the best words to describe our election system at Merriam-Webster online!
Oct. 4th, 2004 01:52 am (UTC)
Well, it goes to show how many new words you've learned!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )