By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Thursday, September 29th, Brazil’s Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (Superior Electoral Court) revealed that, with just days to go before the important municipal elections on Sunday, October 2nd, it has received, in a little over a month, more than 32,000 complaints nationwide of illegal electioneering through its recently released app, Pardal. The app allows users to report, through their mobile devices, alleged illegal electioneering directly to the Court.
The Court released Pardal for Android and iOS devices in early August to coincide with the start of the busy campaign season.
The Court’s Secretary of Technology, Giuseppe Janino, explained the app’s role in deterring candidates from engaging in unlawful electioneering, “Knowing you are being watched by ordinary citizens,” said Janino, “a candidate has to have adequate behavior that conforms to the law.”
With the app, users can use their devices to send audio, photos and videos showing the alleged illegal activity directly to the Court. Once the Court receives the information, prosecutors can then analyze the material and, if deemed necessary, immediately forward a formal complaint directly to the Regional Electoral Court of that jurisdiction, speeding up a once laborious process.
“Since the process became computerized, twenty years ago, the Electoral Court’s commitment is to use the features and capabilities that technology provides and develop the electoral process as fast as the evolving technology,” explained Secretary Janino.
According to the Court, over fifty percent of the complaints received by Pardal so far have been related to irregular canvassing, including illegally placed billboards and unlawful propaganda. The app includes a guide to help users determine which electioneering activities are deemed lawful.
In addition to Pardal, the Superior Electoral Court, along with regional courts across the country, have developed some ten different apps that allow voters to do everything from learning about the different candidates to tracking real-time election results.
The first round of municipal elections takes place this Sunday, October 2nd.