Voting in Brazil, Venezuela, USA

ElectionsVoting for municipal elections, nationwide, is over for today. It generated a major ecological disaster: political pamphlets covering sidewalks and streets. Gives another meaning to the phrase “dirty politics.”

• Attendance at church wasn’t as bad as expected, neither at SJCampos nor at Taubaté. Jorge was at the latter, so I didn’t have to do everything myself. I taught Bible school, directed the Lord’s supper and offering, as well as offered opening and closing prayers. Jorge preached and led singing.

• Usually, we have lunch at one of the malls on Sunday with Jorge and family. The food court usually doesn’t start filling up until around 1 or 1:30. Today it was mostly full by 12:30 when we arrived. Many got out early to do their voting, which meant they were up and about earlier. So lunch must have been earlier for them as well.

• Voting in Brazil is obligatory, by law. If you don’t vote, you have to “justify” your failure to fulfill your civic duty, and possibly pay a fine. A news source said that the city of São Paulo has over 8 million voters, 2.1 million of which have not finished grade school. The implication is they’re ignorant and don’t know how to vote, I guess. I know people with college educations who don’t seem to have much idea either.

• In Brazil voting machines are electronic, the results being published within minutes of closing the polls. Machines are being tested that use fingerprints as proof of ID. Reckon the US would be interested in them? Nah, Dems don’t like requiring ID, might put the dead back to sleep. But then those machines might be hacked, some say. Always an opportunity for the dishonest.

• In the state of São Paulo, there are 86.472 voting machines. Of those, 114 failed and had to be replaced today. That, says the voting commission, is 0.13% of them.

• Venezuela had presidential elections today, and The Missus read that Chavez lost. Will he try for a coup? Recount? Election recall? Can you see him stepping down willingly? We can hope and pray.

• We’ve requested our absentee ballots from the US. We don’t vote in Brazil, aren’t citizens here. We want to be sure to vote in these November elections. We have some strong opinions this year. Just hoping the marvelous mail systems, Brazilian and American, get the ballots to us and back in time.

• People may have to vote here, but that doesn’t mean they will always cast a vote for someone. Some people will vote em branco, not fill out anything on the ballot, or nulo, disfigure their ballot so that it is thrown out. (You can lead a horse to water, …) Here, it’s part of the jeitinho brasileiro. Always a way around it.

• The more I see of the political process, the more jaded I get. Or maybe R. Reagan spoiled me. He was a good man, and a great one. Men like him don’t come around every four years. And none seem to be appearing on the horizon. Though some are less bad than others.

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