The Latest on Brazilian elections (all times local):
With 53 percent of returns in, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro is leading presidential race with 49 percent of votes.
Fernando Haddad from the Workers’ Party was in second place Sunday with 26 percent of the vote.
If no candidate gets 50 percent, there will be a runoff Oct. 28.
The initial results show Bolsonaro getting more votes than polls in recent weeks indicated, which put his support in the high 30s.
Bolsonaro, a former army captain, has run on a platform of promises to crack down on violence and rid Latin America’s largest nation of endemic corruption.
Brazil’s electoral court is investigating images that went viral on social media of supporters of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro bringing guns to their polling stations.
One image shows a gun on the top of the electronic voting machine and Bolsonaro’s face on the screen in a school of Sao Joao de Meriti, outside Rio de Janeiro. Another shows a voter using his gun to press buttons in the machine to vote for Bolsonaro in the southern Brazilian city of Cachoeiro do Sul.
The two images quickly spread in WhatsApp groups, which are heavily used by Bolsonaro supporters to spread their messages.
Guns are not allowed in polling stations in Brazil.
Voting in Brazilian elections requires strategy and memory.
On the country’s voting machines, each candidate is assigned a number, with the first two digits of the number identifying the candidate’s party.
Some party numbers are well-known. But this year, far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party is the front-runner. Few voters will have ever pressed his party’s 17.
Brazilians are also electing state and federal legislators and governors in Sunday’s vote– which amounts to pressing dozens of the right buttons.
Voters need to press four numbers – including the two of the party – to vote for a federal congress member and five to vote for a state congress member.
They can also just vote for a party, not a specific candidate, or annul a vote by confirming a number that is not linked to anyone.
Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court says that at least 300 electronic voting machines were malfunctioning and have been replaced.
A total of 454,500 voting machines are in use across the country as Brazilians go to the polls.
Meanwhile, federal police say they have taken at least 40 people into custody for allegedly committing electoral crimes.
Police said the most frequent crime has been the illegal transportation of voters to polling stations.
Several people were detained for conducting exit polls after voters cast their ballots.
Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has told reporters that “any candidacy that compromises democracy in Brazil is extremely dangerous.”
Shortly before casting her ballot, Rousseff said the result of Sunday’s elections would determine “if we walk down the path toward democracy or down the path toward authoritarianism and fascism.”
She was referring to far-right congressman and poll leader Jair Bolsonaro.
Rousseff was impeached in 2016 for manipulating the fiscal budget. She is running for a Senate seat for the state of MInas Gerais.
The two leading presidential candidates in Brazil have cast their ballots.
Far-right congressman and poll leader Jair Bolsonaro voted in Rio de Janeiro. He told reporters he thought there would be no need for a second round on Oct. 28 because he would get more than the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.
A recent poll showed Bolsonaro garnering support among 36 percent of voters.
Fernando Haddad, who is running in second place, voted in Sao Paulo.
Brazilians in nearby buildings beat on pots to show their disapproval when he spoke afterward.
While the pots were banging, Haddad’s supporters chanted that he would be president, making it impossible to hear what the candidate said.
Brazilians have started trickling to voting booths to choose leaders in an election marked by intense anger at the ruling class following years of political and economic turmoil.
Far-right candidate and congressman Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls. He is trailed by Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party, which has won the last four presidential elections.
Bolsonaro garnered 36 percent in the latest Datafolha poll, with Haddad 14 points behind. The poll interviewed 19,552 people Friday and Saturday and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.
If no one gets a majority on Sunday, a runoff will be held Oct. 28.
Voting booths will close at 5 p.m. local time.