In Brazil, Voting Is So Sexy the Paparazzi Show Up

Posted by Barbara Soalheiro

TV star Angélica shows she is back into shape just one week after giving birth to her first daughter, while walking down to her voting booth in Rio last Sunday. World-famous musician Caetano Veloso shows his voter registration to an electoral monitor, while wearing a T-shirt with a Bertold Brecht quote: “nothing should seem natural.” Bruno Gagliasso and Giovana Ewbank prove they’re together for good: For the first time, they are voting at the same electoral zone, at Barra da Tijuca.

It’s like that with elections in Brazil.
 
And these days—because I’ve been following GOOD and the campaign to make voting something a little more important than the other activities in the calendar—I realized how revealing it is that our celebrity magazines set up the whole paparazzi scheme for this, just like they would for more trivial events: a big concert, a movie premiere, the Oscars.
 
I mean, there is something weird about voting day being less important than the Oscars, right?
 
Voting is compulsory in Brazil* and for sure that plays a big role in the way we face elections. But that turned voting into the thing you will do that Sunday (it’s always on a Sunday). The hours will be divided into before-voting and after-voting; families will take their children with a certain pride, weather conversations will be replaced by comments on how busy your section was or how long that woman took to press the buttons.** And celebrities will have a chance to move on with their lives and make an appearance. Just like it’s supposed to be.
 
* Something that deserves a whole lot of criticism of its own, especially in a country where you can buy a vote for as little as one flip flop—and I don’t mean the pair.
 
** Brazil has successfully voted electronically for over a decade now. We use a reliable system, developed by a Brazilian engineer, that allows us to know who the winning candidate is a few hours after voting hours are done. It’s pretty impressive. It’s one of those things we are always proud to share with Americans because of the Gore/Bush elections back in the year 2000.
 
Holidays need traditions. This post is part of a series imagining rituals we could create around "Voting Day" as a national holiday. Sign up your organization or encourage your company to join at takebacktuesday.good.is.
 
Image via (cc) flickr user Marcelo G. Ribeiro