Almost two weeks ago the United States held its presidential election. Voter turnout was the highest in the country’s history, and people all over the world were glued to their TV’s for four days to watch as Joe Biden, the Democrat nominee, defeated Donald Trump, the Republican incumbent, with 306 electoral college votes.
Brazilians can vote as early as age 16, but from age 18 – 70, voting is compulsory for all citizens who can read. Unlike a US election that generally has 2 main political parties, Brazil has 33 political parties recognized by the Electoral Supreme Court (TSE). Many Brazilians find it hard to follow what each party stands for and many Graded students who are required to vote tomorrow have expressed that they know very little about the mayoral candidates. In this article, The Talon will outline the changes made to the voting process due to the pandemic, and summarize the main platform of the candidates for mayor of São Paulo.
Tomorrow (11/15/20) approximately nine million registered voters in the city of São Paulo will take to the polls to decide the next mayor and city counselors. Voting will take place from 7:00 am until 5:00 pm, the first three hours being designated for those over the age of 60. Like all elections in Brazil, if no candidate for mayor receives an absolute majority, a second-round will take place in late November
With the pandemic voting will look different: masks will be obliged, there will be signage and markings on the floor indicating the safe distance that voters must keep between each other, everyone must bring their own pen, and there will be hand sanitizer at everyone’s disposal. Unlike the US there is no mail-in option, so if you have a fever, any covid-19 symptoms, or have been diagnosed with the virus in the last 14 days, you will not be allowed to vote. Instead, you must stay home and justify your absence by using the e-Titulo app by January 14, 2021.
These are the 13 candidates running for mayor in São Paulo and some of their main proposals:
(presented in alphabetical order with the party name in bold)
Andrea Matarazzo (PSD) a 63-year-old millionaire who promises to decrease unemployment caused by the pandemic and revitalize the economy by refinancing taxes, eliminating fees, and developing courses for small businesses. His proposals for town hall include creating a system for tracking stolen cars in low-income neighborhoods, creating a new parameter for the IPTU (property tax), and repurposing the GCM (Metropolitan Civil Guard) to essentially be truant officers. On the education front, his proposal to “identify gifted students, enable their access to advanced resources, and monitor their development” is already a law.
Antonio Carlos (PCO) a 58-year-old HS mathematics teacher who stated early on that he would not make any campaign promises. Instead, he asked the citizens of São Paulo to tell him what they wanted, explaining that voters must “mobilize and fight otherwise there is no politician on earth who can solve their problems”.
Arthur Do Val, aka “Mamae Falei” or “Mommy, I spoke” (Patriota), is a 34-year-old career politician who aims to transform the GCM (Metropolitan Civil Guard) into a municipal police force. He proposes increasing the number of skyscrapers in the city of São Paulo and modifying the laws for the preservation of the city’s historical and cultural patrimonies.
Bruno Covas (PSDB), the current 40-year-old mayor of São Paulo running for reelection. He plans to add 630 beds in 2 existing hospitals, 16 new UPAs (small clinics for intermediary procedures), and increase telemedicine with 60,000 medical professionals. He says he will create 70,000 new public housing units in the next 4 years and he wants to use boats on the Marginal as a form of public transportation. He has plans to create areas in the ABC region of SP that are open for 24 hours a day in order to stimulate economic activity. He wants to provide 465,000 tablets for children in elementary schools and eliminate the waitlist for daycare facilities.
Celso Russomanno (Republicanos) is a 64-year-old millionaire and journalist. He argues that only people with Covid-19 symptoms should be quarantined at home. His solution to the pandemic is prevention. He promises to invest in widespread testing, making sure everyone has and is wearing masks, and ensuring that people are properly washing their hands. He also clarified that while he is not in denial of science, he doesn’t believe that scientists have properly “explained” Covid-19, claiming that there are many six-month-olds on the streets without a mask who have not contracted the virus. He is supported by Bolsonaro.
Guilherme Boulos (PSOL) is a 38-year-old college professor, politician, writer, and head of the National Coordination of Homeless Workers’ Movement (MTST). His policies range from increasing the property tax (IPTU) on mansions to the creation of a protection program for homeless domestic animals. He promises to condemn the glorification of historical figures linked to slavery, and create a “blacklist” of sexist companies that silently support the wage gap. He aims at providing free transportation for students and the unemployed and ends illiteracy in Sao Paulo. He supports gig workers (eg UBER drivers) rights – a similar proposal failed to pass in California in the last election.
Jilmar Tatto (PT) is a 55-year-old politician who aims to create a press structure within the municipal administration, sharing news through televised broadcasts. He wants to increase taxes for the wealthiest citizens, create free public transportation for students, and extend the period of bus and subway transfers to four hours.
Joice Hasselmann (PSL) is a 42-year-old career politician who aims to lower the IPTU (property tax), to values she considers “fair”. She is proposing compulsory hospitalization as a form of treatment and recovery for drug addicts who live on the streets of São Paulo.
Levy Fidelix (PRTB) is a 68-year-old journalist who aims to rehabilitate the region known as “Cracolândia” and create “the largest shopping mall for technology and electronics” in Latin America.
He also wants to make singing the national anthem compulsory in all schools.
Márcio França (PSB) is the 57-year-old former governor of São Paulo. He wants to provide interest-free loans for small businesses, create new jobs for the unemployed that would pay them 600R$/month for maintenance and gardening work. Establish a new program called “Domingo legal” providing free public transportation on Sundays so that extended families can enjoy the city. He wants to increase the number of public restrooms in the city. He plans to fund this project through advertising on busses through newly installed televisions.
Marina Helou (Rede Sustentabilidade) is a 33-year-old congresswoman and millionaire focused on equal rights. One of her proposals is to distribute free pads and tampons for women in São Paulo. She hopes to provide aid for mothers of young children, and to create public luggage racks for people on the streets.
Orlando Silva (PCdoB) is a 49-year-old congressman and former Secretary of Sports. His aim is to combat racism by closing down discriminatory establishments across the city, provide free transportation for the unemployed, jobs for ex-cons, and increase the investigative power of the police. He promotes the use of abandoned buildings to house the homeless and microcredit for small businesses on the outskirts of the city.
Vera Lúcia (PSTU) a 53-year-old sociologist who wants to reduce required working hours for municipal workers and employees of companies with municipal contracts to 30 hours/week without a reduction in salary legalize drugs to put an end to trafficking (although this is outside the mayor’s purview) wants to create public laundromats in São Paulo, sever relations with Israel, and strengthen support services for legal abortion clinics, and increase the reach of restaurants in SP that serve 1R$ meals.
Use your vote wisely. Whichever candidate you decide to vote for, make sure you do more detailed research into their policies and values to confirm that they coincide with your own. Tomorrow when you take to the polls, do not go in blind, and be safe.