By: B. Sapiro
2018 marks the year where the 38th President of Brazil will be elected, and the Governor of São Paulo, as well. Since the change in law just a few years ago, individuals who are 16 years old are able to vote in Brazil and are encouraged to do so. Sometimes, politics and government topics can be overlooked by teenagers, however, this election is of utmost importance and carries an enormous weight on how Brazil's legacy will look like both domestically and internationally. The actual voting part is straightforward, however, preparing yourself to vote for the very first time could be intimidating, or even scary.
Firstly, in order for you to make sure that you have made a correct decision when voting, make sure that your vote is your vote. People, including your close friends and family, could heavily influence your vote. In order to avoid this, ask questions and research on issues that you are concerned about, and see if one of the candidates has made a statement or action regarding it. This will help you narrow down which candidates have as priorities issues that are also your priority as an individual.
Secondly, try to stay up to date on the last debates that have been on television. These are giving you the opportunity to see which candidate or party you most connect with. During the debates, candidates must show knowledge and present feasible solutions to the topics and show that they are well prepared for taking on their desired political role.
Thirdly, look for information on fundraising and campaign spending. This is especially important for this election because it is the first one in 20 years that companies are prohibited from donating to parties and candidates. The 'Electoral Justice' (Justiça Eleitoral), for example, is making a huge effort to make sure that the candidates are collecting and spending money accordingly. So go into your candidate's website and see how they are addressing issues.
Last of all, read the candidates campaign material. What tends to happen a lot in Brazil is that cities are slammed with photos and the candidate's number, try to look beyond those as some candidates have dedicated their time to writing proposals for city management, or listed the legislative actions they wish to take.
Good luck, voters!