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Amid fears of violence, Brazilian election off to a smooth start

Brazil’s general election started peacefully across the country this morning, despite fears that political violence could disrupt the vote.

Brazilians started arriving at their polling places at 8 am and in many cases faced long lines, but no problems have been reported. Polls close at 5 pm Brazilian time (you can follow the results live

According to Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, Brazil’s chief electoral justice, everything is being conducted “in absolute tranquility.”

“We are already an hour into the elections with tranquility and security. Voters are already heading to the polls both in Brazil and abroad, since early in the morning, in New Zealand, Lisbon, Paris, with everything running with absolute tranquility,” said Justice Moraes.

“And we are sure that at the end of the day we will have the results,” he added. “Vote, go home, have some lunch, and enjoy your Sunday.”

Per the Superior Electoral Court’s first situational report, 401 ballot boxes had been replaced by 9:30 am. That amounts to 0.07 percent of total machines used in the election. Paper ballots (which can be used as a last-resort solution) have not been required.

In all, 472,075 voting machines were prepared for voting and another 105,050 units are on standby.

The Justice Ministry reported a total of 109 cases of vote buying or electoral corruption and 19 occurrences of illegal campaigning so far this morning, but not yet any cases of violence.

At a polling station in Brasília visited by The Brazilian Report, instead of violence, supporters of presidential frontrunners Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Jair Bolsonaro even shook hands. The pair said that “the important thing is Brazil’s future, regardless of who wins.”

“My profession calls me to try to reduce inequalities and increase inclusion, and I am in favor of the environment, the LGBT population, and an impartial judiciary,” said Luciana Paulino, a psychologist who showed up to vote wearing a Lula t-shirt .

On the other side, wearing Brazil’s yellow national football jersey, military officer Leonardo Rodrigues points out that he does not support corruption and that, therefore, the comeback of the Workers’ Party to power would be a step backwards.

“Mr. Bolsonaro loses because he has no tact, but corruption is cancer, it kills more than a pandemic. For me, those who vote for Lula are saying that the government can be corrupt,” he said.

For his friend, lawyer Rafael Oliveira, four years is too little to make significant changes in the country. “I think that continuity is important at this moment. We are seeing positive effects on the economy. I am liberal and conservative, and he [Mr. Bolsonaro] works for me. It is not the best option, but it is what we have for today,” says Mr. Oliveira. The Brazilian Report correspondent Cedê Silva in Brasília also documented the first hours of the elections on video.

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