Ricardo Tosto Discusses Some Finer Points of Brazilian Election Law

In Brazil, participation in the electoral process is mandatory for most people. Citizens aged 18 to 70 must vote in elections or they may suffer sanctions for being in violation of electoral law. Because citizens are required to vote at their assigned polling station, it is possible to request a waiver which is to be presented at the nearest polling station. For citizens traveling abroad, there is a 30-day grace period to present an excuse to any polling station upon their .

Brazilians who do not vote in a given election and do not subsequently receive an excuse from an electoral judge in 60 days receive a fine. However, habitual offenders face stiffer penalties. Any citizen under obligation to vote who fails to participate in three consecutive elections has a 6-month grace period to request an excuse from the Regional Elections Court. If an excuse is not granted, the citizen’s voter registration will be canceled. Citizens with canceled registration cannot hold elected office or hold employment in government at any level. There are additional sanctions, including the inability to be issued identification or a passport.

Ricardo Tosto is the founder of one of Brazil’s premier law firms, Ricardo Tosto& Associates. Ricardo Tosto is active as a litigator in several areas of the law, including elections and constitutional law. A graduate of the McKenzie Presbyterian University, he also has a host of publications to his name and is a member of a number of international legal organizations.

In addition to his legal career, Ricardo Tosto is highly regarded as a historical writer. He is a strong believer in lifelong learning and actively mentors young lawyers as they begin their careers. Ricardo Tosto has been in private practice for more than twenty years and has built one of Sao Paulo’s most respected law firms.

Sujit Choudhry: A World Renowned Authority On Comparative Constitutional Law

Comparative law deals with the study of similarities and differences of the laws in different countries. It is a term that was first used in modern times. In the 19th century it became clear comparing legal institutions required a systematic approach. One that increased the understanding of foreign cultures while furthering legal progress. Comparative law specifically involves studying legal systems worldwide including civil law, common law, Canon law, socialist law, Chinese law, Hindu law, Islamic law and Jewish law.


An academic discipline, comparative law looks at the constitutive elements of legal system, ways they differ and the combination of their elements into a system. The discipline includes describing and analyzing foreign legal systems. Comparative law’s importance has increased a great deal in today’s age of economic globalization, internationalism and democratization. Comparative law now has several separate branches. They include comparative civil law, comparative constitutional law, comparative criminal law, comparative administrative law and comparative commercial law.


Studies looking at these specific areas of law are often called macro- or micro-comparative legal analysis. Comparative law has a variety of purposes. They include gaining a deeper knowledge of legal systems in effect, perfecting legal systems in effect and contributing to the unification of smaller or larger scale legal systems. Sujit Choudhry is internationally recognized as an authority when it comes to comparative constitutional development and comparative constitutional law. The I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law, Choudhry is also a former Dean of the University of California, Berkeley law school. He does research which addresses comparative constitutional law’s basic methodological questions. It looks at how constitutional design can be used as a tool to help manage the process of transitioning from violent conflict or authoritarian rule to moving towards peaceful democratic politics and democratic rule.


Sujit Choudhry (Tumblr.com) was a Rhodes Scholar and has law degrees from Harvard, Oxford and Toronto. A Canadian, Choudhry was a law clerk for the Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Antonio Lamer. He received the Trudeau Fellowship in 2010. Choudhry has published more than 90 book chapters, articles, reports and working papers. He has also edited numerous collections. The Migration of Constitutional Ideas, Constitution Making, The Oxford Handbook of Indian Constitutional Law and Constitutional Design for Divided Societies: Integration or Accommodation are just a few of them.


A foreign constitutional expert, Sujit Choudhry helped with constitutional transitions that took place in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.