Bolsonaro contests Brazil election loss, wants votes voided

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) – Three weeks after losing his re-election bid, President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday blamed a software bug and asked the election authority to cancel votes cast on most of Brazil’s electronic voting machines, even as independent experts said no errors affected the reliability of the results. It doesn’t last.

Such a move would allow Bolsonaro to secure 51 percent of the remaining valid votes — and a re-election victory, Marcelo de Besa, the lawyer who filed the 33-page petition on behalf of the president and his Liberal Party, told reporters.

Even the election official, a Bolsonaro fanatic, leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and many of the president’s allies welcomed the results. Protesters in cities across the country have steadfastly refused to do the same, with Bolsonaro in particular refusing to concede.

Liberal Party leader Valdemar Costa and a party-hired auditor for Brasilia told reporters that in their assessment, all of the pre-2020 machines — about 280,000, or 59% of the total used in the Oct. 30 race — lacked individual identification. Numbers in internal logs.

Neither explained how that would affect the election results, but said they are asking the election official to reject all votes cast on those machines.

The complaint casts doubt on the accuracy of the results, calling the error “an irreparable failure to comply with a malfunction.”

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Immediately, the electoral authority issued a ruling that implied the possibility of Bolsonaro’s party facing such a challenge.

Alexander de Moras, the court will not consider the complaint unless the party submits an updated report within 24 hours, which includes the results from the first round of elections on October 2, in which the Liberal Party won more seats in both houses of Congress than any other. .

Cremar de Souza, a political analyst at Dharma Political Risk and Strategy, said the wording of de Moras’ decision indicated that the electoral court would reject the appeal.

The error was previously unknown, but experts say it will not affect the results. Wilson Ruggiero, professor of computer engineering and digital systems at the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo, said each voting machine can still be easily identified by other means, such as the city and voting district.

Diego Aranha, a systems security professor at Denmark’s Aarhus University who has participated in official security tests of Brazil’s electoral system, agrees.

“It doesn’t affect reliability or credibility in any way,” Ruggiero told The Associated Press by phone. “The key point to ensure authenticity is the digital signature attached to each voting machine.”

Although the machines do not have individual identification numbers in their internal logs, these numbers are found on printed receipts and show the total number of votes cast for each candidate, Aranha said, adding that the error was discovered only during election efforts. Power to provide more clarity.

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Bolsonaro lost to da Silva on October 30 by less than two points, his narrowest margin. Since Brazil’s return to democracy in 1985. The president refused to admit defeat, although he did not shout openly. Or congratulate the opponent – leaving room for the fans to draw their own conclusions.

Many are relentlessly protesting election fraud and calling for armed forces to intervene.

Dozens of Bolsonaro supporters gathered outside a news conference on Tuesday, decked out in the green and yellow of the Brazilian flag and singing patriotic songs. Some of them verbally attacked journalists trying to enter the venue.

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

The president’s son, federal lawmaker Eduardo Bolsonaro, repeated the threat at a summit in Mexico last week.

“We don’t always trust these machines. … We need a big audit,” said the young Bolsonaro. “There is very strong evidence to order an investigation into the Brazilian election.”

Brazil began using electronic voting systems in 1996, and election security experts consider such a system less secure than manually marked paper ballots, as they leave no auditable paper trail. But Brazil’s system is being closely scrutinized by local and international experts who have found no evidence of fraud.

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Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco said Tuesday afternoon that the results of the election were “not questionable.”

Bolsonaro has been completely isolated in his official residence since his defeat on October 30, inviting widespread speculation that he has given up or is plotting to cling to power.

In an interview with the newspaper O Globo, Vice President Hamilton Maurao said that Bolsonaro’s absence is due to erysipelas, a skin disease that prevents the president from wearing pants.

For the audit, the Liberal Party hired the Legal Vote Institute, which has criticized the current system for not providing a digital record of each individual’s vote, saying it violates the law.

In a separate report presented earlier this monthBrazil’s military says there are flaws in the country’s electoral system and has offered reforms, but has not confirmed bogus claims by some Bolsonaro supporters.

Analysts say the armed forces, a key part of Bolsonaro’s administration, may be holding uncertainty over the issue so as not to upset the president. In his subsequent statement, the Ministry of Defense emphasized that although there was no evidence of fraud in the vote counting, it could not rule out that possibility.


Biller reports from Rio de Janeiro. Associated Press writer Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report.


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