Judge lowers Bolsonaro’s late bid to overturn Brazil elections

RIO DE JANEIRO – For more than a year, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has warning that he may not accept the loss in the presidential election last month. Then he lost. In response, Mr reluctantly agree to begin the transition of power — while his allies check the election results for evidence of anything amiss.

This week, his campaign announced it had found it: a small software bug in the voting machine. On Tuesday, the campaign filed a request to effectively overturn the election in favor of Mr Bolsonaro, saying the bug would invalidate votes from about 60% of voting machines.

Of the remaining votes, Mr Bolsonaro would win 51%, the campaign said, making him the winner instead of the former leftist president defeated himLuiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The request is a Hail Mary. Independent experts said the error did not affect the integrity of the vote. And then, late Wednesday, Brazil’s election chief dismissed the complaint and fined the three conservative parties behind it $4.3 million for submitting it.

Alexandre de Moraes, a Supreme Court judge who runs Brazil’s electoral agency and who has become one of Mr Bolsonaro’s most prominent political opponents, said in a decision late last night. Wednesday that the campaign’s arguments are “completely false” and that the demand for an election to be overturned is “ostensibly an attack on the rule of law and recklessly executed, with the aim of encouraging encourage criminal and anti-democratic movements.”

Mr Moraes had previously given the campaign 24 hours to explain why it was only questioning the votes from the second round of the election, in which Mr Bolsonaro lost, but not the first round, in which Mr. His political party won the most seats in the National Assembly using the same voting machine. After the head of Mr Bolsonaro’s party on Wednesday said they lacked information about the first round, Mr Moraes dismissed the complaint.

Moraes, who led the election, has become one of Brazil’s most powerful political figures in the face of criticism of the electoral system from Mr Bolsonaro and his allies. Mr Moraes’ aggressive response to what he called attacks against Brazil’s democracy included his command for social networks to take down thousands of postsdrew widespread criticism from the Brazilian right.

In a brief statement on Wednesday afternoon, hours before Mr Moraes’ decision, Mr Bolsonaro’s right-wing Liberal Party called reporters to a hotel in Brasília, the nation’s capital, to explain the findings. their present.

Valdemar Costa Neto, the party’s president, said the software bug required a review of the election results. “There is no doubt about the vote,” he said. “If this is a stain on our democracy, we must address it now.”

Moraes on Wednesday also ordered an investigation into Mr. Costa Neto and the official overseeing the party’s audit.

The software bug highlighted by Mr Bolsonaro’s campaign caused an error in a document produced by some older voting machines. The error affects identifiers connected to voting machines. Liberal Party officials argue that makes it difficult to verify votes.

Independent computer security experts who have studied Brazilian voting machines and have reviewed the campaign’s findings suggest that it is false. They say that while the error exists, it does not affect the integrity of the results. That’s because there are other ways to identify the voting machine, including on the document itself with the error.

“They pointed out a bug that needed to be fixed. “That’s cool and it’s really easy to fix,” said Marcos Simplício, a cybersecurity researcher at the University of São Paulo. But he said the campaign’s proposal that the votes should be annulled was like arguing that a car broke down because of a scratch on the door.

“Try to convince your insurance company of that,” he says. “It’s nonsense. Totally meaningless.”


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