The paper ballot was approved by the National Congress in September 2009, during the mini-electoral reform. According to the text contained in Law no. 12,034/2009, the electronic ballot box will display the screens referring to the votes entered and, after the voter's confirmation, the machine must print a unique number identifying the vote associated with its own digital signature.

The same rule also provides that this printed document is deposited automatically, without manual contact by the voter, in a previously sealed location and, subsequently, it will undergo an independent audit in a public hearing to be held by the Electoral Court after the end of voting. The purpose of this procedure is to compare the result presented in the electronic ballot box with the result of the paper ballot.



The Electoral Court took a stand against the paper ballot since the enactment of Law No. 12,034/2009, considering this procedure to be a setback compared to manual voting times. When the bill was approved by Congress, the then president of the TSE, Minister Ayres Britto, even asked the President of the Republic to veto the provision of the law. In the minister's opinion, there was no point in having the vote printed since the same efficiency in checking votes can be achieved electronically, eliminating the extra expense required for printing votes.

The system, used in the 2002 general elections, as provided for in Law 10,408/2002, among other disadvantages, had a large number of flaws, preventing the smooth flow of work in the electoral sections. In addition, the implementation costs were very high, the delay in voting was greater than in sections where there was no paper ballot, the number of crashes in the printers was significant and the procedure for loading the programs took longer.

  • Law No. 10,740/2003 replaced the paper ballot with the digital record of the vote.

  • Law No. 12,034/2009 provided for some changes in the Brazilian electronic voting system, including the return to the use of the so-called paper ballot starting in the 2014 elections. However, because they understand that, among other reasons, the printing of the vote goes against Article 14 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees the secret ballot, on September 19, 2011, the justices of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) granted an injunction to suspend, until judgment on the merits, the application of the paper ballot in the aforementioned claim.

The decision of the STF, unanimous, occurred in the judgment of Direct Action of Unconstitutionality (ADI) no. 4543, filed by the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR).


2021 paper ballot Constitutional Amendment

In August 2019, the Proposal for Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) No. 135/2019 was voted, which would add a new article providing that, in the voting and counting of elections, plebiscites and referendums, it would make the issuance of physical ballots mandatory, through a voting module printed next to electronic ballot boxes from the 2022 elections.

These printed ballots, checkable by the voter, would be deposited in sealed ballot boxes for auditing purposes.

The Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies, a member of the Brazilian Legislative Power, rejected the aforementioned proposal, as it did not reach the minimum of 308 votes in favor.