Article Brazil: President of Superior Electoral Tribunal Warns Employers That Electoral Harassment Is a Crime

On October 13, 2022, during a plenary session at the Superior Electoral Tribunal (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral, TSE), the president of the TSE, Minister Alexandre de Moraes, warned that employers who are subjecting their employees to electoral harassment by coercing, threatening, or promising them benefits in order to influence how they vote in the second round of the 2022 general elections on October 30, 2022, are committing a crime.

Moraes announced that he will hold a meeting with representatives of the Electoral Public Prosecutor’s Office (Ministério Público Eleitoral) and the Labor Public Prosecutor’s Office (Ministério Público do Trabalho) to organize a more effective fight against the crime of electoral harassment. The minister recalled that anyone can report the offense through an app of the Electoral Justice (Pardal da Justiça Eleitoral).

According to article 301 of the Electoral Code (Código Eleitoral), using violence or serious threats to coerce someone to vote or not to vote for a particular candidate or party, even if the intended ends are not achieved, is punishable by imprisonment for up to four years and a fine.

Additional forms of electoral harassment include public servants using their authority to (1) coerce someone to vote or not to vote for a certain candidate or party, which is punishable by imprisonment for up to six months and a fine (Electoral Code art. 300), or (2) “promote the concentration of voters” (promover a concentração de eleitores) in any manner on election day to prevent, embarrass, or perpetrate fraud in the exercise of voting, including by supplying free food and public transport, all of which are punishable by imprisonment for four to six years and a fine (art. 302).

The Electoral Justice and the Superior Electoral Tribunal

Brazil’s Electoral Justice is a branch of the judiciary composed of the TSE, the Regional Electoral Courts (Tribunais Regionais Eleitorais), the judges, and the electoral boards. It is responsible for organizing all stages of the Brazilian electoral process, from the registration of voters to the diplomacy of elected candidates. The TSE is the highest body of the Electoral Justice. It plays a fundamental role in the construction and exercise of Brazilian democracy. Its main powers are established by articles 118–121 of the Federal Constitution of October 5, 1988, and by the Electoral Code.

The Electoral Justice and the TSE were created by Decree No. 21,076 of February 24, 1932. Five years later, the Constitution of 1937 abolished the Electoral Justice and assigned to the federal government (Union) the exclusive power to legislate on electoral matters. The Electoral Justice was restored on May 28, 1945, with the enactment of Decree-Law No. 7,586.

Eduardo Soares, Law Library of Congress
October 20, 2022

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Brazil: President of Superior Electoral Tribunal Warns Employers That Electoral Harassment Is a Crime. 2022. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2022-10-19/brazil-president-of-superior-electoral-tribunal-warns-employers-that-electoral-harassment-is-a-crime/.

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(2022) Brazil: President of Superior Electoral Tribunal Warns Employers That Electoral Harassment Is a Crime. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2022-10-19/brazil-president-of-superior-electoral-tribunal-warns-employers-that-electoral-harassment-is-a-crime/.

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Brazil: President of Superior Electoral Tribunal Warns Employers That Electoral Harassment Is a Crime. 2022. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2022-10-19/brazil-president-of-superior-electoral-tribunal-warns-employers-that-electoral-harassment-is-a-crime/>.