OAS – EOM congratulates Brazil on 2020 municipal elections

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WASHINGTON, USA – The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (EOM/OAS) deployed in Brazil for the municipal elections highlights the successful holding of the second round of the 2020 municipal elections.

On November 18, the chief of Mission, ambassador Agustín Espinosa presented the Mission’s preliminary report , following the completion of the first electoral round on November 15. That report included the Mission’s main observations and recommendations on structural aspects of the process, with the aim of enhancing Brazil’s electoral system.

The regulatory framework of the elections establishes that where no candidate has attained the absolute majority of valid votes in the first round, in municipalities with more than 200,000 citizens, a second electoral round must be held between the two candidates receiving the most votes. Consequently, on November 29, more than 38 million citizens were invited to cast their ballot to elect their local authorities in 57 cities, including 18 capitals of the country.

The Mission’s observers and experts, who were deployed in Brazil since November 7, continued their technical work through a work modality that combined face-to-face and virtual meetings due to the effects of the pandemic.

In order to mitigate the health risks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and optimize the use of financial resources, the Mission maintained the presence of a small group of six people in the cities of Brasilia, Goiania, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo for the second round.

For this round, the EOM held meetings with the Superior Electoral Tribunal, regional electoral authorities in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Goiania, and with political organizations. Within the framework of preparations for the election, the Mission also witnessed: the preparation of the electronic ballot boxes, simulations of the transmission of electoral results, distribution of materials for the day of the elections, the drawing of ballot boxes corresponding to the audit to verify their operation, the ceremony to digitally sign and seal the system, and steps taken to ensure the access of persons with disabilities to the vote.

Election Day passed quietly and there were no major incidents. The first official results were released at 5:30 PM and two hours later the information was already available from more than 95% of the tables. Shortly after 9:00 PM, 100 percent of results were available.

The Mission highlights the transparency and openness of the Superior Electoral Tribunal in responding to questions from the media, and disseminating the results of the official count in a timely manner, which allowed citizens to acquire this information in real-time.

The Mission also salutes and congratulates the TSE for having overcome, in short order, the challenges that arose in the first round, as well as the regional electoral authorities for their work in holding elections of enormous complexity given the size of the country, the size of the electorate and the situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the EOM recognizes the commitment of the Brazilian people who went to the polling stations to elect their leaders, according to the information provided by the TSE, abstention reached 29.47 percent, an increase compared to previous processes.

In the coming months, the Mission will present the final report to the OAS Permanent Council for subsequent publication.

The Mission reiterates its gratitude to Canada, the Dominican Republic, France, Guatemala and the United States of America, whose financial contributions made this deployment possible.

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