Long lines have replaced feared episodes of political violence in the most polarized election in recent memory. “We don’t want any more hatred,” said Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the favorite in the fight against President Jair Bolsonaro, after his very early vote in São Paulo. In a day that has passed with surprising normality, after the incidents of attacks of ideological overtones that have occurred in recent weeks, the queues have marked the elections in various cities in Brazil, with waiting times of more than an hour in schools in several of them the capitals of this country of continental proportions, which has slowed down the count.
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Not only did voters have to choose the next president, they also had to choose federal and state lawmakers, senators and governors, which complicated the process even before electronic ballot boxes, where they must have their candidates’ numbers without being able to use the phone cellphone to use. Lula, for example, had his Labor Party number 13, while Bolsonaro had 22.
“Don’t wait in line for the stairs,” shouts an officer at the Regional Electoral Court at the top of her voice as she leads the way amid the hustle and bustle of the school at Universidade Anhembi Morumbi. a 12-story building that pales in comparison to the other skyscrapers on Avenida Paulista, the historic artery of Brazil’s largest city. In the middle of the afternoon, the swarm of people entering and exiting the elevators is constant. “It’s very crowded. There are five votes, so it’s delayed,” she explains to this newspaper, but withholding her name because she’s not authorized to make statements. At 5:00 p.m., things are cleaned up, the doors are closed, but those who have arrived can pass, as the authorities have ordered.
The possibility of Lula deciding the election on the first ballot, for which he needs half plus one of the votes, has dominated the closing stages of the campaign with urgent calls for a meaningful vote. “I’d like to close the election now, but I think it’s going to the second round,” as the second round of the presidency is called, says María Luisa Dantes, a 19-year-old student with dyed-pink hair who is running in the first times in some elections. He has no memories of Lula’s mandates, but he is disturbed by the doubts that Bolsonaro planted about an electoral system that he considers “fairly secure”. Voting is compulsory in Brazil and optional for 16- and 17-year-olds, one of the few countries in the world where teenagers can vote. Measurements suggest that for the most part, Lula has these first-time voters.
Felipe Bolivar, a 33-year-old businessman wearing the jersey of the Brazilian team at Bolsonaro’s request, waits patiently in the elevator line. On the back is the name of Neymar Jr, who just this week recorded a video on Tik Tok in support of the far-right president. “Colors define many people in Brazil. It’s a way of expressing our will and integrating a community,” he explains. Though he makes it very clear, he’d rather not say who his vote will be for. Other voters appear in red shirts, the traditional color of the PT.
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Despite being the loudest, Neymar is just one of the cracks who have sung their voice in the land of football. Another was Rivaldo, the old Barcelona glory, who went to the vote wearing the yellow and green jersey. Defender Thiago Silva also referred to “God, Fatherland, Family and Freedom,” the alleged pillars of Bolsonarianism, while another former soccer player, Raí, Sócrates’ brother, actively asked for Lula’s vote.
The electronic ballot boxes, which were the target of Bolsonaro’s attacks, were opened as usual for a period of 9 hours between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., but this was the first time that the entire country was put under Brazilian time. , the federal capital. This means that all voters showed up at the same time, regardless of the difference between the time slots of a huge territory. But the Supreme Electoral Court has clarified that voters who are already queuing before closing can vote normally, lengthening the day. Pending the results, its President, Alexandre de Moraes, has described it as “calm and harmonious”. The celebrations in Paulista will have to wait now.