Bolsonaro objects to losing the Brazilian elections and wants the votes to be invalidated

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) – More than three weeks after losing his re-election bid, President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday blamed a software bug and demanded that the electoral authority annul votes cast at most electronic voting machines in Brazil, even though Independent experts say that the error is not so do not affect the reliability of the results.

Marcelo de Pesa, the lawyer who filed the 33-page application on behalf of the president and his liberal party, told reporters that such an action would leave Bolsonaro with 51% of the remaining valid votes – and a re-election victory.

The electoral authority has already declared victory for Bolsonaro’s enemy, leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and even many of the president’s allies have accepted the results. Protesters in cities across the country have steadfastly refused to do the same, especially with Bolsonaro refusing to concede.

Liberal Party leader Waldemar Costa and an auditor hired by the party told reporters in Brasilia that their assessment found that all of the pre-2020 machines — nearly 280,000 of them, or about 59% of the total used in the October 30 runoff — lacked to the individual profile. numbers in the internal records.

Neither of them explained how this could affect the election results, but said they are asking the electoral authority to invalidate all votes cast on those machines.

The complaint described the error as “irreparable non-compliance due to a malfunction”, which called into question the validity of the findings.

Immediately afterward, the chief electoral authority issued a ruling that implied the possibility that Bolsonaro’s party would suffer such a challenge.

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Alexandre de Moraes said the court will not hear the complaint unless the party submits an amended report within 24 hours that includes results from the first election round on Oct. 2, in which the Liberal Party won more seats in both houses of Congress than in any other report. .

Creomar de Souza, a political analyst at DHARMA Political Risk and Strategy, said the wording of de Moraes’ ruling suggested the Electoral Tribunal would likely reject the appeal.

The error was not previously known, however experts said it also does not affect the results. Each voting machine can still be easily identified through other means, such as the city and voting district, according to Wilson Ruggiero, professor of computer engineering and digital systems at the Polytechnic College of the University of São Paulo.

Diego Arana, an associate professor of systems security at Aarhus University in Denmark, who participated in official security tests of Brazil’s electoral system, agrees.

“It does not in any way undermine reliability or credibility,” Ruggiero told the Associated Press by phone. “The key to ensuring accuracy is the digital signature associated with each voting machine.”

Although the machines do not have individual identification numbers on their internal records, these numbers do appear on printed receipts that show the sum of all votes cast for each candidate, Aranha said, adding that the error was only discovered due to the efforts of voters. Authority to provide greater transparency.

Bolsonaro’s loss by less than two points to Da Silva on October 30 was the narrowest of the margins since Brazil’s return to democracy in 1985. While the president has not yelled outright, he has refused to concede defeat Or congratulate his opponent – leaving room for his supporters to draw their own conclusions.

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Many protested relentlessly, claiming election fraud and calling for the armed forces to intervene.

Dozens of Bolsonaro supporters gathered outside the news conference on Tuesday, decked out in the green and yellow of the Brazilian flag and chanting patriotic songs. Some verbally assaulted and pushed journalists who were trying to enter the place.

Bolsonaro has spent more than a year advocating for Brazil’s electronic voting system Vulnerable to fraud, without ever providing evidence.

The president’s son, federal deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, echoed that concern at a conference in Mexico last week.

“We always don’t trust these machines. We want a thorough review,” said the younger Bolsonaro. “There is very strong evidence to order an investigation into the Brazilian elections.”

Brazil began using an electronic voting system in 1996, and election security experts consider such systems less secure than paper ballots, because they leave no auditable paper trail. But the Brazilian system has been closely examined by local and international experts who have found no evidence that it is being exploited to commit fraud.

Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco said Tuesday afternoon that the election results are “indisputable.”

Bolsonaro has been almost completely isolated in the official residence since his October 30 defeat, inviting widespread speculation about whether he is depressed or planning to cling to power.

In an interview with O Globo newspaper, Vice President Hamilton Mourao commented Bolsonaro’s absence was due to erysipelas, a skin infection on his legs that he said prevents the president from wearing pants.

To scrutinize it, the Liberal Party has hired the Legal Voting Institute, a group that has criticized the current system, saying it defies the law by not providing a digital record of every single vote.

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In a separate report submitted earlier this monthBrazil’s military said there were flaws in the country’s electoral systems and suggested improvements, but did not substantiate allegations of fraud from some Bolsonaro supporters.

Analysts have suggested that the armed forces, which have been a key component of Bolsonaro’s administration, may have maintained a semblance of uncertainty over the issue to avoid displeasing the president. In a subsequent statement, the Department of Defense stressed that while it found no evidence of vote-count fraud, it could not rule out the possibility.

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Beller reported from Rio de Janeiro. Associated Press writer Mark Stephenson in Mexico City contributed to this report.

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