Isadora Loza Ferreira de Sousa is 15 and lived until two months ago in Monsenhor Horta, Mariana Province, in Minas Gerais. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the region has a population of 1,740, of whom 889 are women. The city is part of the history of Brazil, but today it is not the most famous in the historical circle of Minas Gerais. It is considered a rural area in the Mariana, and most of its inhabitants make their living from farming. Isadora grew up in this context. The girl with a passion for studying history, when she learned that the law allows – even without the age of 16 – to expect the withdrawal of her voter registration, insisted on carrying out the operation.
“You can see that history repeats itself over time. We, the youth, are the ones who can change, because the older person already has a concept of the world. I voted and made my own decisions. I was always a kid who watched the paper and loved to pursue politics. As soon as I knew I could have the address. I wanted it. I talked to my parents and didn’t ask, I just told them I was going to take it. My dad suggested I remove it later, but I made it clear I’m trying to raise awareness as much as I can, which is why I made a point,” he commented.
Resolutely, Isadora went with her mother to the Electoral Office. “While I have a sexist father, I have a very strong mother, who is against all that. So, from the beginning, she supported me and went with me to take the title. My mother taught that you should not vote void white, because it was very difficult, especially for us women, to be We have the right to vote directly.” Isadora described the feeling she felt when she had the document in her hands. “I grew up as a citizen. It was an incredible feeling,” he revealed.
Isadora was informed by the study, but also encouraged by information from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). The agency’s campaign to encourage the registration of 15- to 17-year-olds has had an impact. In the first three months of this year alone, 1.1 million teens registered to participate in the October elections. This figure is significantly higher than the figure recorded in the first quarter of 2018, the year of the last presidential elections, when 877,000 young people sought the Electoral Court to secure their right to vote – an increase of 25.4%.
Last month, TSE promoted Young Voters Week, educating the public about the importance of participating in the casting process. On March 24 and 25 alone, over 90,000 bonds were issued to under-18s.
Artists and influencers
Political scientists point to another factor that explains the increased interest of young people: The TSE campaign won the spontaneous adhesion of artists and digital influencers, such as singer Anitta. Close to the dialogue with this part of society, they helped reinforce the message of the importance of voting to solve the country’s problems in a democratic environment.
Among the young voters counted by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal is Annabel Almeida, 17, a student at the Public Education Unit in Recanto das Emas, in the Federal District. In her final year of high school, she said she was encouraged to get the title. “I think it is important for young people to make this movement to contribute to Brazilian democracy. I also did the title because I want to help remove Bolsonaro from power. If all the teens I know vote against him, I’m sure that would be a great help.”
Dbora Messenberg, a sociologist and professor at the University of Brasilia (UnB), notes that this initial difficulty in engaging young people and getting them to take the initiative in public life may come from a collective sense of disinterest on the part of the institutional political community. Therefore, she argues that the impetus for political education must start from childhood, from the perspective of collective action.
“First, it is necessary to demystify that politics is something bad or something external to us, and to make clear that the politics we do daily, whether you realize it or not. In another way, to show how important this active participation in public life is. That is why the sooner we The better. And I think the prospects for social change are with the young, because they are the ones who still bring the spirit and the desire to transform.”
A message for future generations
Karol Yuki Batax is 18 years old and is native to the Batax people of Minas Gerais. She commented that she does not discuss political issues, as she believes that few people explain the subject. But with the rise of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), with every statement the president made to indigenous peoples, I realized the importance of being part of that environment. “I decided (to get the title) because I see that there is a lot going on that I do not agree with. I think I should be involved in these governments, from those who run my country, because, being a citizen, I think I should have some influence on what they will do In my territory, in my forests, in everything,” he said.
“My role is to change what happens to future generations, just as my predecessors did. They tried as hard as they could resist existence. They tried to change what was happening, but it didn’t work very well. However, they tried and I will try to do it now: to change our future for posterity.” Make it clear that voting will change a lot, yes.”
However, Dbora Messenberg cautioned that although young people have a clearer political position, they are still interested in and align themselves with more specific social movements in their interest, so this could, in general, be a diffuse vote. “Young people in particular have a clearer position. Opinion polls indicate at least more discredit regarding the Jair Bolsonaro government as bad and terrible. It is also easy to understand the government’s rejection of the Ministry of Education and even the handling of the pandemic. So, in this sense, the opposition is quarreling them so hard that they (the youth) register first and foremost and actually become a mass of votes against the government,” he predicted.
On the March balance sheet, the increase in TSE enrollments for the 16-17 age group was 45% greater than the number of recruits in February: 200,000 to 290,000. If April repeats the numbers from the same month in 2018, when there were 290,000 new registrations, the next election could have more than 2 million young people eligible to vote. A number that parties and candidates wouldn’t ignore, but still far from the 2.5 million teens registered with the Electoral Tribunal a decade ago, in 2012. (TA and VD)