Todt will have the backing from influential and outgoing FIA president Max Mosley.
The 63-year-old Frenchman arrived for Friday's vote in the company of another big backer, seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone also firmly supports Todt.
Vatanen also filed in ahead of the vote at a hotel near FIA headquarters in Paris. Voting began at 4:30 a.m. EDT.
Todt is a former Ferrari team principal who revived the fortunes of the flagging Italian team and led them during the Schumacher golden era. The 57-year-old Vatanen is a former world rally and Paris-Dakar champion from Finland who once raced under Todt in the 1980s.