He told reporters he thought there would be no need for a second round on October 28 because he would get more than the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.
Both candidates will now move to build alliances, the centre-right vote will prove the deciding factor with Bolsonaro being the better-placed to capture most of it.
The candidate from the tiny Social and Liberal Party made savvy use of Twitter and Facebook to spread his message that only he could end the corruption, crime and economic malaise that has seized Brazil in recent years. "Bolsonaro is far more radical than [U.S. President Donald] Trump, and Brazil's institutions are weaker". He won over many foreign investors by promising smaller government and a more open economy. The two overseas cities with most Brazilian registered voters are Boston, 35.000 and Miami, 34.000.
Fernando Haddad, who is running in second place, voted in Sao Paulo. If no one gets a majority in the first round, the top two candidates will compete in a runoff.
Bolsonaro has portrayed a nation in collapse, where drug traffickers and politicians steal with equal impunity, and moral rot has set in.
He once told a congresswoman during a parliamentary hearing that she did not deserve to be raped because she was "very ugly", Brazil's TV Globo reported.
"What comes out from this election is a Congress more favorable to pass Bolsonaro's reforms", said Juliano Griebeler, political analyst at Barral M Jorge, a business consultancy.
Beginning in 2014, prosecutors alleged that Brazil's government was run like a cartel for years, with billions of dollars in public contracts handed out in exchange for kickbacks and bribes.
A total of 454,500 voting machines are in use across the country as Brazilians go to the polls.
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"I don't see any nostalgia of the old time of the dictatorship in this vote", de Oliveira said. Bolsonaro dedicated his vote in favor of her impeachment "to the memory of Col. Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra"-the military officer who tortured Rousseff under the military dictatorship in the 1970s". But Mr. Haddad mentioned Mr. da Silva only once in his subsequent interview. He has said that numerous allegations against Workers' Party politicians are political persecution and portrayed a country hijacked by an elite that will protect its privileges at all costs and can't bear to see the lives of poor and working class Brazilians improve.
Mr. Bolsonaro used the rest of the interview to reiterate his disdain for gay rights, dismiss the suggestion that he was a misogynist (he once called a congressional colleague "too ugly to rape") and pledge to demolish his adversary in the October 28 runoff vote, Workers' Party candidate Fernando Haddad.
"There is a strong desire for change", said Andre Portela, an economics professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a leading university and think tank. "Getting stabbed helped Bolsonaro in that".
"This vote was a real and clear rejection to everything that was symbolized by the left parties and by Lula", said Thiago de Oliveira, a Brazilian political risks expert at ARKO to ABC News, referring to Lula da Silva, a left-wing politician who was president from 2003 to 2011. That became especially important after the candidate was stabbed on September 6 and confined to the hospital for more than three weeks.
Haddad, addressing his own supporters, called the looming run-off "a golden opportunity", and challenged Bolsonaro to a debate.
Should Bolsonaro become president, he will have to form legislative alliances. "We've been on this path of insane bipolarity".
Bolsonaro garnered 36 percent in the latest Datafolha poll, with Haddad 14 points behind.
Nearly two-thirds of the electorate are concentrated in the more populous south and southeast of Brazil where its biggest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio Janeiro, are located - and where Bolsonaro holds a commanding lead.