Brazilian government tries to prove e-voting is safe

A partnership with the Brazilian Computer Society aims at convincing the population that the electronic voting method is fraud-proof.

Brazil's Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and the Brazilian Computer Society (SBC) have signed a cooperation agreement to apply best practices to the technology supporting voting processes in the country.

According to the TSE, the involvement of the Brazilian Computer Society aims at "establishing means of integration, research and improvement of computing" at the electoral tribunal.

Despite the lack of details regarding the specific areas where the tribunal and the SBC will work together, a key priority is to demonstrate that the electronic voting devices used at the elections are actually safe.

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"We have to demonstrate to the society that the system works and is safe, so it is important to have the feedback and counsel of a scientific organization like the SBC," said Gilmar Mendes, president at the TSE.

Flaws found in the Brazilian electronic voting system in the general election of 2014 pointed to the possibility of fraud. At the time, two of the top computer science universities in Brazil suggested that it is possible to easily break the secrecy of the machines and unscramble the order of votes recorded by the devices.

E-voting was introduced in Brazil in 1996 as a means to ensure secrecy and accuracy of the election process, as well as speed: the system underpinned by voting machines enables results to be processed within a matter of minutes within closing of the ballots.

New security assessments are being prepared by the TSE for the e-voting devices, which will start towards the end of November. General elections will take place in Brazil in October 2018.

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TSE is also leading the efforts to create a single biometric citizen database and has been collecting biometric data for voter identification since 2013.

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