6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Candidates, Voters, and Bots: The Forces at Play in the October 2018 Brazilian Elections

There will be a webcast of this event

More than 150 million Brazilian voters will go to the polls on October 7th to choose a new president, 27 governors and hundreds of representatives at the federal and state levels. It is likely to be the largest and most consequential election that Brazil has seen since the reinstatement of democracy in the 1980s. It is also proving to be one of the hardest to predict. The prevalence of social media and the rise of fake news in a country with over 116 million internet users has only added to the sense that the 2018 elections will be unprecedented in Brazil.

Voter apathy is high, and the electorate remains skeptical of the political class four years into an unprecedented corruption investigation that has seen the implication, prosecution and now imprisonment of leading political figures and businessmen. Public opinion polls have shown repeatedly that Brazilians are dissatisfied with the candidates on offer this election cycle. Yet with the economy struggling to recover from the longest recession in Brazilian history, and the government struggling to address the structural challenges the recession exposed—to say nothing of political reforms—voters face a critical choice in October.

Join the Brazil Institute on September 4, from 9:00am to noon, for an in-depth conversation on the upcoming Brazilian elections, including the presentation of a new public opinion poll by Ideia Big Data. Following a discussion of presidential election outlook, with speakers participating from São Paulo via Skype and live at the Wilson Center, we will examine the potential role of social media and fake news, with Marco Aurelio Ruedinger, the Director of Public Policy Analysis at the Fundação Getulio Vargas-Rio de Janeiro and head of a team of experts that has studied the topic over the past four years.



Paulo Sotero, Director of the Brazil Institute at the Wilson Center


Panel I: Assessing the Field of Presidential Hopefuls

Mauricio Moura, CEO & Founder of Ideia Big Data

Sergio Fausto, Executive Director of the Instituto Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Oscar Vilhena Vieira, Dean of the School of Law of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV/SP)

Ricardo Mendes, Managing Partner at Prospectiva Consulting

Monica de Bolle, Director of Latin America Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies


Panel II: The Role of Social Media, Bots, and Fake News in the Brazilian Election Campaign

Marco Aurelio Ruedinger, Director of Public Policy Analysis at the Fundação Getulio Vargas-RJ

Meg King, Director of the Digital Futures Project and Coordinator of the Science, Technology and Innovation Program at the Wilson Center