In addition to last week's plenum ruling banning the use of cell phones within voting booths in next month's presidential elections even if the device is turned off, Brazil's Superior Electoral Court (TSE) unanimously agreed Thursday to also ban voters from carrying firearms, Agencia Brasil reported.
The prohibiting measures were approved in two separate previous plenary sessions. Following Thursday's decision, it is forbidden to carry cell phones, cameras, camcorders, radio communication equipment, or any instrument that can compromise the secrecy of the vote, even if the device is turned off.
The new rule mandates clerks to ask voters whether they carry a cell phone or other device that can record or broadcast the vote. The official must then keep such devices until the person leaves the voting booth.
If the voter refuses to answer or to hand over the device, he will not be authorized to vote and the reception desk will record the details of the occurrence and will call the police force to take the necessary measures, the new resolution states.
In the case of weapons, the armed force[s] will remain 100 meters away from the polling station and will not be allowed to approach or enter the polling place without judicial authorization or the authorization of the president of the polling station, in the 48 hours preceding the election and in the 24 hours following it, except in detention facilities, always respecting the secrecy of the vote.
The prohibition applies to all civilians, even to those who have a license to carry a weapon, although security officers working for the Electoral Justice are to be exempted from the norm, as are law enforcement officers on duty on voting day.
Anyone who disregards the prohibition will be treated as any other offender found in flagrante delicto. The TSE in the exercise of its regulatory and police powers, will adopt all necessary measures to make these prohibitions effective,” the decision stressed.
(Source: Agencia Brasil)