Brazil reverting to paper votes amid budget crisis

Electoral court waxes wroth after budget shaved

One of the world's early adopters of electronic voting, Brazil, is reverting to paper votes because of budgetary woes.

The decision was made by the Superior Electoral Court – in Portugese, here – in response to a roughly US$110-million (R$428 million) funding cut.

The court is in the middle of a $51 million (R$200 million) tender for new systems intended for 2016 elections, which was due to be finalised by the end of this month.

The court says the failure of the process “will cause irreversible and irreparable damage”, adding that the public interest is at threat because of the impact on the 2016 municipal elections.

Brazil has had electronic voting in some form since 1996, when it first trialled systems in the state of Santa Catarina. The system was subject to criticism in 2014, when ZDNet Brazil reported on university tests that suggested the system wasn't sufficiently secure against fraud.

Brazil is in a worsening budget crisis, and it's not only the electoral court that's finding its belt squeezed.

Reuters reports that President Dilma Rousseff has called off a trip to Japan, amid a $2.6 billion (R $10 billion) government spending freeze.

Brazil's Federal Accounts Court has ruled that the president “doctored” the country's public finances in 2014, and the government is working to stabilise a government deficit predicted to be nearly R $50 billion this year ($26 billion). ®


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