Brazil’s electoral body rejects Bolsonaro’s request to cancel the vote

RIO DE JANEIRO – The head of Brazil’s electoral body on Wednesday rejected a request by President Jair Bolsonaro and his political party to cancel the ballots cast in most of the electronic voting machines that would have annulled the Oct. 30 election.

Alexandre de Moraes made an earlier decision that clearly raised the possibility that Bolsonaro’s party could suffer from such a problem. He conditioned the poll’s analysis on October 2, when the report was amended to include the results of the first round, in which the Liberal Party won more seats in both houses of Congress than any other, and he established a 24-hour voting clock. deadline.

On Wednesday, the party’s president, Valdemar Costa, and lawyer Marcelo de Bessa, held a press conference and said there would be no revised report.

“The complete bad faith of the plaintiff’s strange and illegal request … is evidenced by both the refusal to add to the original application and the complete absence of any evidence of violations and the existence of a completely false story of the facts,” Moraes said. hours later he wrote in his decision.

It also imposed a fine of 23 million reais ($4.3 million) for malicious prosecution.

On Tuesday, de Bessa filed a 33-page request on behalf of Bolsonaro and Costa, citing a software error in most of the Brazilian machines — their internal records do not have individual identification numbers — to argue that all the votes they recorded should be canceled. De Bessa said this would give Bolsonaro 51% of the remaining valid votes.

Neither Costa nor de Bessa explained how the error affected the election results. Independent experts consulted by The Associated Press said the new discovery did not affect reliability and that each voting machine could still be easily identified by other means. In his ruling on Thursday, de Moraes made the same point.

He also wrote that the call for a vote was intended to incite anti-democratic protest movements and create confusion, and ordered an investigation into Costa and the consultant hired to conduct the assessment.

“De Moraes’ message to the political establishment is this: the game is over. Questioning election results is not fair game and people and institutions that do so will be severely punished,” said Maurício Santoro, professor of political science at Rio de Janeiro State University.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Costa said his intention was simply to prevent the results of the 2022 vote from haunting Brazil into the future.

On October 30, the electoral body confirmed the victory of Bolsonaro’s nemesis, leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and even many of the president’s allies quickly accepted the results. Protesters in various cities across the country have steadfastly refused to do the same, especially with Bolsonaro refusing to acknowledge it.

Bolsonaro has spent more than a year claiming Brazil’s electronic voting system is prone to fraud without ever providing evidence.

The South American country began using electronic voting systems in 1996, and election security experts consider such systems less secure than hand-marked paper ballots because they leave no verifiable paper trail. But Brazil’s system has been scrutinized by local and international experts and has never found evidence that it was used to commit fraud.

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