With one week to go until Brazil’s October 2 general election, a mobile app created by the Superior Electoral Court was on Sunday the most downloaded app in both Android and iOS stores, the court informed.
The e-Título app was launched in 2018 as a digital alternative to physical electoral cards and a way of simplifying certain procedures. It allows voters to have a digital version of their electoral card, as well as access other services such as information on polling stations, a voting receipt, and a justification for their absence on the day of the election.
According to the Electoral Court, some 30 million Brazilian voters have downloaded the app and activated their electoral card, with 2.5 million having done so just in the last week. More than 156 million Brazilians are registered to vote this October.
Voting is compulsory for people aged 18 to 70 in Brazil, but voters can easily justify their absence to electoral authorities – a process which can be done online or simply through the e-Título app. Failure to vote only incurs a small fine.
In Brazil, a candidate can clinch the race without the need for a runoff if they get over 50 percent of the vote. Polls show former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is in a position to win a new term already on Sunday — but abstention rates could be decisive for the outcome of the first round.
Historically, turnout is lower among poorer voters — who are more likely to have to work on Election Day and have issues with mobility to get to polling stations.
It is hard for pollsters to predict abstention. Around 90 percent of respondents say they will certainly go and vote this year, according to PoderData, a polling institute, but abstention is usually much higher. In 2018, the abstention rate stood at 20.3 percent of the electorate, while 6.1 percent of those who voted cast blank ballots, and a further 2.6 percent cast spoilt ballots.