RIO DE JANEIRO –
The head of Brazil’s electoral agency on Wednesday rejected a request by President Jair Bolsonaro and his political party to cancel ballots cast on most electronic voting machines, which could will overturn the October 30 election.
Alexandre de Moraes issued an earlier ruling that implicitly raised the possibility that Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party could be subject to such a challenge. He made the analysis a requirement to present a revised report to include results from the first round of elections, on October 2, in which the party won more seats than either party. congress and he set a 24-hour deadline.
Earlier on Wednesday, party chairman Valdemar Costa and lawyer Marcelo de Bessa held a press conference and said there would be no revised report.
“The complete error of the plaintiff’s strange and illegal claim … has been proven, both by the refusal to add to the original petition, and by the complete lack of any proof of the claim. as well as the existence of a completely false story about the truth.” de Moraes wrote in his decision a few hours later.
He also ordered the suspension of government funds to the Liberal coalition until a fine of 23 million reais ($4.3 million) was paid for dishonest litigation.
On Tuesday, de Bessa filed a 33-page request on behalf of Bolsonaro and Costa citing a software bug in the majority of Brazilian machines – which lacked personal identification numbers in internal logs – to argue. that all votes they have recorded should be annulled. De Bessa said that doing so would leave Bolsonaro with 51% of the valid vote remaining.
Neither Costa nor de Bessa explained how the error might affect the election outcome. Independent experts consulted by the Associated Press said that although it was recently discovered, it did not affect reliability and that each voting machine could still be easily identified through other means. In his ruling on Thursday, de Moraes noted the same.
He also wrote that the challenge to the vote appeared to be aimed at encouraging anti-democracy movements and creating chaos, and ordered an investigation of Costa and the consultant hired to conduct the review.
Mauricio Santoro, a professor of political science at the University of California, said: “De Moraes’ message to the political establishment is: the game is over. Questioning the outcome of the election is unfair. equal, and those and organizations that do so will be severely punished.” Rio de Janeiro State University.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Costa said his intention was only to prevent the outcome of the 2022 vote from haunting Brazil in the future.
The election authorities on October 30 approved the victory of Bolsonaro’s arch-enemies, former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and even many of the president’s allies quickly accepted the result. . Protesters in cities across the country staunchly refused to do the same, especially when Bolsonaro refused to give in.
Bolsonaro spent more than a year claiming Brazil’s electronic voting system was vulnerable to fraud without ever presenting evidence.
The South American country started using electronic voting systems in 1996, and election security experts say such systems are less secure than hand-marked paper ballots because they leave no residue. Paper trails can be checked. But the Brazilian system has been scrutinized by national and international experts, who have never found evidence of it being used to commit fraud.