In Brazil, voting is done with electronic voting machines that resemble telephone panels. Voters key in the number of their preferred candidate, and the machine logs the result.

While this voting method looks simple on the surface, it presumes voters are properly informed on which number corresponds to which candidate before they enter the voting booth.

The implementation here is critical, because if voters get the numbers wrong, they can accidentally vote for the wrong candidate. In contrast, this would not be a problem in countries where voters are given ballot papers where all the candidates are already on the ballot.

How does Brazil ensure that their voters are properly informed on their candidate's assigned number prior to the election?

PS: The same question can apply to countries like Finland, where voters are expected to transcribe a number onto the ballot paper which corresponds to their preferred candidate.

  • Perhaps they simply have a sheet with names and numbers of the candidates in front of their eyes, when voting. I also suppose that the election campaigns make sure that voters know their candidate's number (aka "Vote Donald Trump - America's #1 candidate!")
    – Morisco
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 19:28
  • This is a problem even with paper ballots because some positions have many candidates. In fact, this was more problematic before eletronic machines were adopted because now voters can confirm their candidates by seeing their photos on the screen.
    – sourcream
    Commented Jun 18, 2022 at 2:25

1 Answer 1


After entering the candidate's number on the electronic voting machine, their name and photo are shown on the screen, after that we can confirm (the green button) or correct it (the red button).

Political campaigns do make sure we know our candidate's number.

On the TV, we have 70 minutes of daily obligatory propaganda on all open channels for over a month, where politicians introduce themselves and give their numbers. Unequal screen time, most politicians have only 5 seconds. They often spend this time playing a jingle with their numbers.

Another example is the flyers with politicians' info (name, number, photo and some generic short text), called "santinhos". Piles of paper, printed with public money, end up littering the streets. "Boca de urna" is the crime of conducting electoral propaganda on the voting day. Search for images of "boca de urna santinhos" to see for yourself the common scene of a Brazilian election day. And how relevant are they? In 2018, 56% of the expenses declared to the disclosure of candidates were referred to the printing of these flyers. https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/2018/08/santinhos-somam-mais-da-metade-dos-gastos-com-publicidade-eleitoral.shtml

  • 1
    Here is a picture of the voting machine displaying the candidate's photo. The voter can cancel and recast his vote if he typed the wrong number.
    – sourcream
    Commented Jun 18, 2022 at 2:14

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