September 29, 2022

Jair Bolsonaro says digital voting machines in Brazil are liable to fraud, however there isn’t a such confirmed document.

With Brazil’s presidential election only a month away, President Jair Bolsonaro is feeding issues in regards to the nation’s digital voting system.

He has lengthy insisted that the machines, used for a quarter-century, are liable to fraud, although he acknowledged final yr that has not been proved.

Brazil’s high electoral authority says the system has been examined rigorously and a few critics of Bolsonaro say he could also be laying the groundwork for an try to cling to energy if the vote doesn’t go his method – very like former US President Donald Trump, whom Bolsonaro has stated he admires.

Right here’s a have a look at Brazil’s digital vote system:

Why does Brazil use an digital system?

Brazilian authorities adopted digital voting machines to deal with long-standing fraud. In earlier elections, poll containers had arrived at voting stations already full of votes. Others have been stolen and particular person votes have been routinely falsified, in response to Brazil’s electoral authority.

Digital machines have been first utilized in 1996 and the primary nationwide, electronic-only vote befell 4 years later. As we speak, outcomes from greater than 150 million eligible voters are offered mere hours after polls shut. And no vital fraud has ever been detected.

Presidential election marketing campaign flags displaying President Jair Bolsonaro and his rival former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on the market outdoors the Supreme Electoral Courtroom in Brasilia [Eraldo Peres/AP Photo]

How widespread is digital voting elsewhere?

Greater than two dozen nations use some type of an digital system for nationwide elections, in response to the Worldwide Institute for Democracy and Electoral Help. However 80 % don’t, and voters in most superior democracies forged their ballots on paper.

Brazil’s system doesn’t produce a paper document of particular person votes, although Bolsonaro has advocated for that.

How is Brazil’s voting system audited?

The electoral authority says voting machines are checked for reliability earlier than, throughout and after balloting. Votes recorded by every machine may be cross-checked with the general tallies after the vote.

Election officers have acknowledged that hacking is all the time a danger, however say nobody has ever managed to change the machines’ supply code or election outcomes. They are saying dangers are additional minimised as a result of the machines will not be linked to the web and data is shipped solely by way of inside programs, segments of which shut down if alterations are detected.

For this yr’s elections, over a dozen establishments — together with police, the army, prosecutors and universities — accepted the electoral courtroom’s invitation to audit the machines. Throughout a three-day hackathon in Might, some 20 employed specialists sought to penetrate the system. None succeeded.

Staff on the Elections Disclosure Centre getting ready an digital voting machine to display the system to the press in Brasilia, Brazil [Eraldo Peres/AP Photo]

When did fraud allegations start?

In 1993, then-lawmaker Bolsonaro complained to members of the army that the paper voting system was rigged, and spoke in favour of digitalisation. As soon as digital voting was applied, nonetheless, he turned one in every of its fiercest critics. In 2015, he proposed a constitutional modification to introduce printed data of votes that might enable guide recounts. That handed Congress, however arguments it was too expensive and will violate the fitting to a secret poll led the Supreme Courtroom to dam it.

What proof does Bolsonaro cite?

Bolsonaro gained the presidency in a 2018 runoff, and later vociferously claimed fraud had denied him an outright victory within the first spherical.

For months, he promised proof was coming, and his administration tasked the Federal Police with scouring the prior 25 years for proof. Lastly, final yr he acknowledged, “There is no such thing as a strategy to show the elections have been or weren’t fraudulent. There are indications.” Following that admission, lawmakers rejected a brand new Bolsonaro-backed invoice as soon as once more in search of to undertake printed data.

Nonetheless, Bolsonaro has continued to assault the machines’ reliability. In July, he referred to as dozens of diplomats to the presidential residence to current his claims. He targeted closely on the existence of a police investigation right into a 2018 incident through which a hacker broke into the electoral authority’s inside system. The authority, which requested for the police investigation, stated the hacker by no means accessed any voting machines nor their supply code and so couldn’t alter the info or compromise outcomes.

Allegations that the system is unreliable have unfold throughout social media and messaging apps — usually in teams backing the president. That’s much like the assaults questioning the safety of voting gear within the US since Trump misplaced the 2020 presidential election. Republicans in some locations have sought to ditch all voting and tabulating machines in favour of paper ballots and hand-counting.

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