The introduction of electronic voting in Brazil boosted voter participation, especially among the less educated. This, in turn, has spurred the election of lawmakers who are more concerned with social issues and have a better attitude toward the needs of the masses.
Thomas Fujiwara’s paper “Voting Technology, Political Responsiveness, and Infant Health: Evidence from Brazil provides a complete analysis regarding the application of the technology, citizen participation, and its impact on development.
(Fujiwara, T. (2010). Department of Economics, University of British Columbia. http://grad. econ. ubc. ca/fujiwara/jmp. pdf.)
One important component of strengthening democracy is citizen participation in decision-making mechanisms. This leads to better management as the people’s preferences are reflected more in public policies. The work serves as further evidence of how a bigger political participation can lead to better results in public services.
This situation is reflected in the increased focus on public health throughout the country. For example, improvements in prenatal care and indicators of infant health such as birth weight are now being seen.
The article details how electronic voting significantly reduced the obstacles preventing some people from political participation. Although filling out a ballot might seem like a trivial task for educated citizens in developed countries, this is not the case in Brazil, where 23 percent of adults are illiterate and a further 42 percent did not complete primary education, making them functionally illiterate.
This leads to a high number of invalid votes when using a manual voting system. Fujiwara’s work presents evidence that the introduction of electronic voting considerably reduces the proportion of invalid votes, especially in poor communities in the areas with the highest levels of illiteracy.
It is an interesting article that provides solid evidence that electronic voting –when conducted responsibly- contributes to a better democracy.