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Electronic Voting in Brazil - An Intel Technology Story

Voting machines based on Intel® processors will provide security, accuracy, and convenience for Brazil’s voters, from deep in the Amazon jungle to major cities, in its 2010 elections.

Intel® Technology Story: Brazil Elections Go All-Electronic

In 1996, Brazil set a goal of all-electronic voting for every single one of its citizens. With more than 135 million voters—widely dispersed from tropical jungles in the Amazon to skyscrapers in Sao Paulo to mountain ranges in the southeast—this was a challenge that demanded diligent planning and cutting-edge technology.

Today, at voting time, more than 450,000 voting machines are set up in the most modern and rural of landscapes throughout the world’s fifth-largest country. Some machines must be transported hundreds of miles over rugged, humid terrain and run twelve or more hours without an electrical outlet. And most important, these electronic ballot boxes must be secure from individual voter fraud and hackers.

“Security, durability and easy-handling are just some of the requirements set for the electronic ballot boxes,” according to Giuseppe Dutra Janino, Secretary of Brazil’s Electoral Oversight Tribunal* (TSE IT Secretary). “They must be easy to store and transportable. They can plug directly to a power socket but, in case of power failure, they must also run on an internal battery or even connect to an automotive battery.”

These voting machines are designed with many checks, balances, and back-up systems to ensure that voters only vote once, to eliminate voting mistakes, and minimize tampering with results. Voters check in with fingerprint identification, and they may review all their choices before submitting their vote. The system is designed so that even people who do not read, or those speaking different languages, can successfully cast their vote. Several back-up systems and executable codes are in place to protect data.

Brazilians have voted electronically since 2000 and today, many of the voting machines are being upgraded to incorporate advancing technology. “Much of the flexibility and security of this new generation voting machine is due to the Intel® Atom™ processor Z5XX series,” says Janino. “It is extremely rugged, reliable, and low-power as well as low-cost. And it delivers greater security than ever before. Public confidence in our voting system is very high and we want to keep it that way!”