The People Have Faith in Electronic Voting!

I caught this today on Rondonoticias | A Informação mais Confiável! (“the most trustworthy information”) from the wild northern climes of Rondônia.

Again, however, it confirms my theory: Brazilian newspapers simply copy and paste press releases from the judiciary off the wires and run them as news.

Coverage of issues outside the news agenda dictated by the judiciary’s public relations machine is almost nonexistent, while access to court filings and documents is unbelievably complicated and technically unreliable.

I say it again: As a stranger in paradise — a Brooklynite in Brazil — I find this jaw-dropping.

A judge, in my innocent Tom Sawyer world, is someone who only voices his or opinion publicly in formal sessions, which are readily available to the public, and only after taking official notice of and deliberating deeply on the facts in the case.

I remind you of the behavior of the chief federal elections judge here:

TSE president’s Marco Aurélio Mello’s declaration to the press that the “dossiergate” affair “is worse than Watergate,” and endorsing the impeachment of da Silva” … is the most egregious of those bizarre and unjudicious ex parte remarks I have mentioned here and there over the past couple of weeks. Mello … later admitted that the TSE had yet to take judicial notice of the matter, and that he spoke without any familiarity with the facts in the case. The TSE later summoned presidential adviser Freud Godoy to testify on the matter — before, if I have my facts straight, the Federal Police had taken his deposition.

Godoy was later cleared of wrongdoing. The chief investigator from the PF called the accusations levianas. “Stupid,” basically.

Back in Kansas, meanwhile, instead of a press office that produces its own television programming, your courts have a court clerk who xeroxes enough copies for the courthouse press corps who are constantly hanging around asking annoying questions.

I actually worked as a city clerk in Oakland once, you know. I ran bid unsealings on city contracts, among other things.
So it’s jaw-dropping that the judiciary here has its own public-relations machine, first of all.

And jaw-dropping that it controls coverage of its own activities to such an extent. And jaw-dropping that it lobbies Congress on legislation in its own institutional interests. See also The Wild and Wooly Saga of Brazil’s Election “Mini-Reform”.

And jaw-dropping, finally, in the nonsense it promotes under the rubric of “voter education.”

See also Mello Still Life of the Ex Parte Party in Alagoas Algorithmic Anarchy Case, and this viewing note on its television channel, TV Justiça.

Today, along with a renewed wave of warnings about the upcoming deadline for squaring accounts with the elections authority — a legitimate enough topic for a media blitz, since the consequences of noncompliance can be amazingly stuff, up to and including losing your right to apply for a passport or attend a public university — there is this.

A Justiça Eleitoral é a instituição mais confiável para a população brasileira, revelou uma pesquisa realizada após as eleições de 2006. O levantamento foi feito pelo Instituto Nexus – Centro de Informação Estratégica para avaliar a imagem da instituição e aferir a efetividade da campanha Vota Brasil 2006 – e divulgada no site do Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE). A pesquisa também atestou que a urna eletrônica é uma unanimidade nacional.

The election authority is the institution must trusted by the Brazilian people, revealed a poll conducted shortly after the 2006 elections. The survey was conducted by the Instituto Nexus Center for Strategic Information to evaluate the public image of the institution and assess the effectiveness of the Brazil Votes 2006, and was published on the Web site of the federal elections tribunal (TSE). The survey also showed national unanimity on the electronic voting machine.

Published on the Web site several months ago, but relaunched as a press release this week.

A Justiça Eleitoral teve avaliação positiva por parte de 88,7% dos entrevistados. Além disso, 88% confiam totalmente ou em parte nos resultados da eleição, sendo que 53,5% confiam plenamente. No ranking das instituições, depois da Justiça Eleitoral, os mais confiáveis são o Poder Judiciário e o Governo Federal.

The election authority was evaluated positively by 88.7% of those surveyed, and 88% trust completely or partly in the results of the election, with 53.5% saying they trust the results completely. In the ranking of federal institutions, the most trustworthy after the elections authority are the judiciary and the Federal Government (executive).

Alternate angle on the factoid:

Nearly half of Brazilians do not have complete faith in the integrity of the election results!

An IBOPE survey had showed that voters who reported having been approached to sell their vote was sharply up over 2002. The 2005 gun-control referendum was not asked about, by the way. In some of Brazil’s more problematic states, reported attempts to buy votes had reached levels as high as 15%, according to IBOPE, which can think of as sort of like the Nielsen ratings system rolled together with the Pew Project on the Internet and Society, and the Gallup organization along with all its competitors.

Not a biodiverse business ecosystem, that.

A instituição também é vista como eficiente por 76,3% dos eleitores e ágil na apuração segundo outros 87,9% dos entrevistados. Além disso, 71,9% acham que a instituição presta serviços de qualidade. O levantamento apurou que 97,7% dos entrevistados aprovam a utilização da urna eletrônica nas eleições brasileiras.

The institution is also seen as efficent by 76.3% of voters and rapid in the vote-count by 87.9% of those surveyed. Further, 71.9% believe that the institution offers quality services. The survey showed that 97.7% approve of the use of the electronic voting machine in Brazilian elections.

As would I, for the machines in our country.

Provided they include a printed receipt, proven audit capabilities, and public access to whatever the hell code is inside of those things, running them. And independent review of the software development on a regular basis. And access to information on the firms hired to conduct that work, where relevant.

And security procedures that do not manifestly claim to be able to scoop up the ocean with a sieve, while technical experts throw up their hands in dismay or hold their sides laughing. Or both.

Our deluge of constant nonsense and our ability to suppress publication of investigative reporting is working!

Outros 88% dos entrevistados afirmaram não ter enfrentado dificuldades na hora de votar. A pesquisa foi feita em 25 Estados e no Distrito Federal entre eleitores homens e mulheres com mais de 16 anos, no período de 28 de novembro a 3 de dezembro deste ano. Foram ouvidos 2001 eleitores. A margem de erro calculada pelo instituto é de 2,2% para o conjunto do País.

Another 88% of those surveyed said they had not difficulties when voting. The survey was conducted in 25 states and the federal districts with men and women voters older than 16, from November 28 to December 3 of last year. 2,001 voters were surveyed. The margin of error, the institute calculates, is 2.2% for the entire country.

That is, before a trickle of news items suggesting there might have been problems in some areas, some specifically involving the secure operation of the machines themselves.

And before voting machines turned up incinerated in a vacant lot in Maceió, where fraud involving the machines has been formally charged.

Foram aplicados questionários pessoais, com perguntas abertas e fechadas. Do total de 2001 entrevistas, 196 foram aplicadas na região Norte, 502 no Nordeste, 193 no Centro-Oeste, 766 no Sudeste e 344 no Sul.

Personal questionnaires were administered, with both open and multiple-choice questions. Of a total of 2,001 interviews, 196 were applied in the Northern region, 502 in the Northeast, 193 in the Midwest, 766 in the Southeast and 344 in the South.

Weighted by population, it seems. It would be interesting to see the breakdown in confidence levels by region as well. And know more about the selection process of subjects, which is not discussed in the methodology section, I believe.

Source: Assessoria/TRE

For my own reference, the polling firm’s self-description, on a page titled “the truth of appearances.”

O Instituto Nexus desenvolve pesquisas qualitativas e quantitativas voltadas para o setor empresarial, político e governamental. Produz dados que permitem escolhas seguras, reduzindo riscos e aumentando as possibilidades de sucesso. Com infra-estrutura própria, o instituto Nexus oferece agilidade, credibilidade e sigilo total. A sala de grupo confortável e equipada com circuito interno de televisão permite a realização de pré-teste de produtos e pesquisa em profundidade. Técnicos experientes e atualizados avaliam os problemas apresentados pelo cliente, determinam a melhor metodologia e produzem uma análise minuciosa dos dados.

The Nexus Institute develops qualitative and quantitative surveys for the business, political and governmental sector. It produces data that enable confident decisions, reducing risks and increasing the chances of success. With its own infrastructure, the Nexus Institute offers agility, credibility and complete confidentiality. Its comfortable focus group room is equipped with closed-circuit TV that permits the realization of pre-tests on products as well as in-depth research. Experienced, up-to-date technicians evaluate the problems presented by the clients, determine the best methodology and produce a detailed analysis of the data.

Clientele of the polling and market research firm includes the follow state and municipal goverments, in which Minas Gerais is heavily represented:

  • Estado de Minas Gerais
  • Estado do Paraná
  • Estado de São Paulo
  • Estado de Rondônia
  • Prefeitura de Juiz de Fora – Minas Gerais
  • Prefeitura de Belo Horizonte – Minas Gerais
  • Prefeitura de Contagem – Minas Gerais
  • Prefeitura de Ipatinga – Minas Gerais
  • Prefeitura de Governador Valadares – Minas Gerais
  • Prefeitura de Uberlândia – Minas Gerais
  • Prefeitura de Varginha – Minas Gerais
  • Prefeitura de Ouro Preto – Minas Gerais
  • Prefeitura de Imperatriz – Maranhão

Others include:

Institutional

  • ABRAPOST – A. B. de Empresas Prestadoras de Serv. Postais
  • ABERT – Ass. Brasileira de Emissoras de Rádio e Televisão
  • Mãos de Minas
  • COPASA
  • ALES – Assembléia Legislativa do Estado do Espírito Santo
  • SEBRAE-SP
  • FIEMG – Fed. das Ind. do Estados de MG
  • Superior Tribunal de Justiça (STJ)
  • Tribunal Regional Eleitoral – MG (TRE-MG)
  • Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE)
  • BHTRANS
  • Associação Mineira de Municípios (AMM)
  • VITACLUBE – Rede de Benefícios Especiais
  • OAP – Associação dos Aposentados da UFMG
  • FESP (Fundação de Ensino Superior de Passos)
  • ASMUB
  • Private commercial
  • Arezzo
  • Show Atuo Mall
  • Crock Banana
  • Rede Dental
  • Bioextratos
  • Casa do Vinho
  • Halógica Informática
  • Flexcred
  • PIF PAF
  • Patotinha Calçados
  • Premium Brasil
  • Pirata Alimentos
  • General Motors
  • Instituto Horizontes
  • Unimed-BH
  • Colégio Pitágoras
  • Magazini Liliane
  • Viação Viplan
  • Lastro Editora
  • Ponto Frio
  • Estufa Investimentos

News media

  • Jornal Hoje em Dia
  • Rádio Inconfidência/Faculdade Estácio de Sá
  • Rádio Itatiaia
  • Revista Encontro
  • Rede Minas
  • TV Cultura – Fundação Padre Anchieta
  • TV Horizonte


The
povão rally around their wise and benevolent judges!

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