ON OCTOBER 7th 147m Brazilians, scattered across an area nearly as big as the United States, will cast votes for 1,654 executive and legislative jobs, including the presidency. Brazil will know the results an hour or two after polls close. It was the first country to make voting fully electronic, in 2000. A half-million machines the size of desktop printers tally votes both in cosmopolitan São Paulo and in remote villages in the Amazon, to which they are brought by riverboat. Results from the Amazon are beamed by satellite to Brasília, the capital.
Brazilians have no reason to doubt that the vote count will be accurate. The 22 years since the country first tried electronic voting “have not produced a single solid case” of tampering that affected the results, says Gerardo de Icaza of the Organisation of American States. But in this year’s election, marked by popular disgust with the corrupt political establishment, many voters are not taking that for granted. The percentage of Brazilians who see elections as honest, which has been declining for years, has now reached a record low of 14%, according to Gallup, a pollster (see chart).