Brazil’s Bolsonaro defies electoral defeat and claims signs of “serious failures” in voting machines
Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro has launched a challenge against his country’s recent election results that saw him lose to socialist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
On November 2, Bolsonaro admitted that “the elections are over” in a move that many seemed to indicate his intention to initiate a transition of power to Lula after the country’s Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) ratified the results However, on Wednesday, he changed his tune over concerns about some voting machines and blamed a software bug.
Like former President Trump, whom Bolsonaro openly admires, he has claimed that electronic voting machines are prone to fraud.
After an audit of his coalition’s results, Bolsonaro said his party found “indications of … irreparable malfunction” in some machines. He has not provided any evidence, even when ordered to do so by the electoral court.
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Its allies claimed to have found “signs of serious failures that generate uncertainties and make it impossible to validate the results generated” in older models of the voting machines. They have yet to provide any proof of these claims.
Lula won the election with 50.9% of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 49.1%, and the claim would affect around 280,000 voting machines, according to the BBC. The result would range from 51.05% for Bolsonaro and 48.95% for Lula if the affected votes were invalidated.
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The TSE told Bolsonaro’s coalition they have 24 hours to present the audit of the two voting rounds, or the body will reject the party’s claims.
Gleisi Hoffmann, president of Lula’s party, described Bolsonaro’s complaint as little more than “chicanery”.
“No more procrastination, irresponsibility, insults to institutions and democracy,” he wrote on Twitter. “The election was decided in the vote and Brazil needs peace to build a better future.”
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Brazil’s Social Democracy Party called Bolsonaro’s complaint “senseless” and said “institutions, the international community and Brazilian society” would resist the effort to challenge the results.
The Associated Press reported that the error in question was not previously known. An expert, Wilson Ruggiero, professor of computer engineering and digital systems at the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo, told the agency that each voting machine can still be easily identified by other means, such as its city and voting district.
President Biden and other international leaders have publicly recognized Da Silva’s victory, as have some of Bolsonaro’s closest allies.
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In addition to cabinet members’ worldwide recognition of Lula’s victory, elected governors and evangelical leaders who have been staunch supporters of Bolsonaro have already offered proposals to the incoming leftist government.
Reuters and THE Associated Press contributed to this report.