Participation of Minorities in the election process

In 2019, the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) established the Working Group for Systematization of Electoral Rules (SNE), tasked with carrying out studies to identify conflicts in the current rule arising from electoral reforms and to propose their systematization.

We sought, through cooperation, to identify minimum consensus, respecting the plurality of conceptions and the electoral rules established and in force in light of the Constitution of the Republic of 1988.

The project was developed within the scope of the TSE, with the cooperation of the Regional Electoral Courts, the Electoral Public Prosecutor’s Office, various bodies and institutions, in addition to representatives of civil society.

Among the thematic components, we have the Participation of minorities in the electoral process, bringing different perspectives on the various themes of electoral norms with regard to citizen participation, information and accessibility, with an analysis of the electoral legislation in force under the perspective of the participation of women, indigenous people, transgender people, youth, Afro descendants, people with disabilities, pre-trial detainees, and teenage internees.

Among the issues identified, we highlight the systematization of the application of resources for female candidates and, more recently, for Afro descendants.

The result of this work was consolidated into a final report (in Portuguese - include link), presented in a clear, objective, and purposeful way. It is a research tool and a unique opportunity for the Electoral Court itself to occasionally review its positions, regulations, and actions to increasingly work towards the construction of a truly democratic, non-excludable, and non-discriminatory society.

In the second phase of this work group, which started in 2020, the component was divided into subgroups for further research, showing a certain similarity in the analyzes regarding the importance of inclusive language, the training of the external and internal public (Electoral Justice employees and board members) on diversities; existence of detailed data to give visibility to minority groups and the problems they face.

We also highlight issues related to:

  1. Afro descendant population: (i) need for policies specifically addressed to quilombola people; (ii) development of proactive actions by institutions to monitor and combat political violence;

  2. People with disabilities: (i) improvement of the Electoral Court's communication channels, for monitoring accessibility for voting; (ii) specific and in-depth approach, by the Electoral Judiciary Schools and in partnership with representative entities, on the political participation of people with disabilities;

  3. LGBTI+ people: (i) combat fake news and widespread hate speech against the LGBTI+ population; (ii) rigorously apply the terminology of the categories of gender identity, sexual orientation, gender and sex in electoral legislation;

  4. Participation of women: (i) institution of a party gender multiplier to assign weight 2 to votes cast for women's candidacies for the purpose of distributing partisan fund resources and advertising time among the associations; (ii) increase in the deadline for proper investigation of the gender quota fraud.

Some suggestions that were presented concern the role of the Court, on the Participation of Social Minorities in the Electoral Process:

  1. Establishment of a Participation and Diversity Commission, with a seat for entities representing women, Afro descendants, LGBTQI+, indigenous people, and people with disabilities, which will act as a consulting body for the constant improvement of electoral services;

  2. Establishment of a Center for Monitoring Grievances on Political Violence, in an inter-institutional arrangement with the Public Prosecutor’s Office and Police and Security Authorities;

  3. Improvement of the National Register of Voters, with the establishment of fields to include data necessary for an adequate knowledge of the profile of the electorate (indigenous, racial self-declaration, gender identity, major types of disability);

  4. Conducting statistical research (survey) with voters with disabilities to gather data and information to adapt services and polling stations.

In a virtual meeting held in March 2021, the TSE was invited to present contributions to the Working Group for the Reform of Electoral Legislation of the Chamber of Deputies, belonging to the Brazilian Legislative Power, with the objective of improving the jurisdictional provision of the Electoral Justice and contributing to the respect for representative democracy.