Carter Center Electoral Expert Mission Concludes Assessment and Issues Initial Key Findings

(Em português)

ATLANTA — The Carter Center’s electoral expert mission has concluded its in-country assessment of Brazil’s presidential election. The mission focused on issues related to the function and transparency of the voting technology systems, disinformation about the use of those systems, and the legal framework governing the use of voting technology.

At the invitation of the Superior Electoral Tribunal (known by its Portuguese acronym, the TSE), the Center’s expert team was on hand for both the first round of the presidential election and the runoff that concluded Sunday, Oct. 30. The electoral officials announced results less than three hours after the polls closed. After all votes were tallied, former President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva won by a margin of 1.8% — or over 2 million votes more than President Jair Massias Bolsonaro.

Because of its limited scope, the Center’s mission cannot provide an overall assessment of voting or counting processes, nor make a comprehensive assessment of the election as a whole, but its preliminary findings include:

  • Legal framework and transparency: The 2022 election took place in a context of great pressure on the electoral system, particularly because of the spread of fake news. Many actors, including elected officials and the armed forces, alleged that the system had flaws, which generated distrust. In response, the TSE moved toward greater participation and inclusion of stakeholder interests by adopting regulations not explicitly included in the legal framework. For example, the TSE created the ElectoralTransparency Commission, which increased the number of oversight entities (entidades fiscalizadoras). It also piloted the use of biometrics in the integrity test suggested by the Armed Forces and the Federal Police.
  • Voting technology: Brazil’s use of a pure direct recording electronic machine design places the onus of results integrity on the voting software. The TSE has provided an extensive set of audit procedures to address this. Responding to suggestions of auditors in previous electoral processes, the courts have successively increased the scope of these audits and reduced restrictions for auditors. The current iteration, which incorporates different university security expert teams that examine the complete system using their own tools in their own environments, without time limits, is the most permissive to date.
  • Disinformation narratives. The electoral cycle was marked by the use of public resources for campaigning and a sophisticated disinformation network. In the first round, the dominant narrative centered around flaws in the voting system. In the second round, the focus shifted to questioning the impartiality of the TSE and included a range of accusations against candidates. While both candidates were attacked, our analysis of the leading fact-checking organizations indicates that most attacks targeted the Lula campaign.
  • Counter-disinformation. Overwhelmed by an avalanche of disinformation, the TSE investigated the production, distribution, and propaganda networks of fake news, as well as their financing mechanisms. Because of an alleged lack of cooperation from some social media platforms, the TSE decided in the campaign’s final stretch to expand its ability to remove content and to do it expediently. This measure raised concerns about interference with fundamental rights. The challenge of fake news goes beyond Brazil and must be addressed by societies across the globe.
  • Election observation. Electoral observation is relatively new in Brazil, but a welcome one that helps increase transparency and the public’s understanding of electoral processes. The TSE invited eight international organizations to observe the election. The presence of domestic observers — notably Transparência Eleitoral Brasil, the largest observer group, which deployed more than 90 observers in 15 states and four countries where Brazilian expatriates were voting — further contributed to the consolidation of Brazilian democracy.

Moving Forward: The Carter Center commends the voters, civil society, and domestic and international observer organizations for their democratic engagement throughout the electoral process. It encourages key leaders to ensure a lawful transition of power and urges all Brazilians to come together to overcome social division and advance their common future.

About Brazil’s Voting System: Brazil created a comprehensive electronic voting system in 1996 to address problems with fraud with paper ballots. The system has made it easier for disadvantaged groups to participate in the voting process. TSE maintains complete ownership of its system, administers it with a professional personnel infrastructure, and has successfully used it in all Brazilian elections.

Background on the Carter Center’s Mission: The Carter Center’s expert mission began its work in June in Brasilia and included visits to Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Goiânia. The mission met with electoral authorities at federal and state levels. It also met with political parties, oversight entities, and a diverse range of civil society organizations. Throughout the electoral process, the TSE provided the Center — as well political parties and other stakeholders — with high levels of access to key information about the voting system and the legal guarantees in place for the election.

The Carter Center conducts its election missions in accordance with the 2005 Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. The expert mission will issue a final report with recommendations about a month after the conclusion of the electoral process.


A Missão de Especialistas Eleitorais do Carter Center Conclui A Avaliação e Emite Conclusões Preliminares


Contact: Soyia Ellison,

Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.