E-voting in Brazil - the risks to democracy

José Rodrigues-Filho*, Cynthia J. Alexander, Luciano C. Batista

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Literature has shown that countries with strong democratic traditions, such as the United States and Canada, are not yet using electronic voting systems intensively, due to the concern for and emphasis on security. It has revealed that there is no such thing as an error-free computer system, let alone an electronic voting system, and that existing technology does not offer the conditions necessary for a reliable, accurate and secure electronic voting system. In this context, then, what are the risks of e-voting to democracy? In what ways, if at all, can more fragile, less mature democracies be buttressed with e-voting systems? As a key component of e-democracy, it seems that e-voting technologies are to become more secure and increasingly reliable in the near future and will indeed be adopted in many countries. In what ways, if at all, will the introduction of such systems increase voter confidence in the political system, promote citizen engagement in political life, and nurture the evolution of democracy? If both e-voting and edemocracy are emerging based on popular demand - that is, as a demand-driven alternative to current processes, then there is no doubt that they are likely to enhance and improve the efficiency of traditional democracy. However, if e-voting technology is being introduced based on a supply-driven fashion - the technology exists therefore it should and must be implemented - then the implications for democracy should be considered. Brazil's introduction of e-voting offers a cautionary tale of supply-driven technological implication. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how the introduction of e-voting in Brazil is highly risky to democracy due to the lack of emphasis on security and the lack of a sociallyinformed and socially driven approach to technological innovation. The Brazilian example illustrates the democratic implications of a market-driven approach. The lack of a technology strategy designed to promote and extend democratic principles is not surprising given the closed door, market-based negotiations that led to the adoption of e-voting in Brazil. The promise, and indeed, the imperative of a democratic, voter-centered approach as an alternative for the development of an electronic voting system, is explored in the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElectronic Voting 2006 - 2nd International Workshop
Subtitle of host publicationLecture Notes in Informatics (GI Series)
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006
Event2nd International Workshop on Electronic Voting 2006 - Bregenz, Austria
Duration: 2 Aug 20064 Aug 2006

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Informatics (GI Series)


Conference2nd International Workshop on Electronic Voting 2006


  • e-government
  • e-voting


Dive into the research topics of 'E-voting in Brazil - the risks to democracy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this