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Brazil’s Bolsonaro Asks Court to Wipe Out Results From 59% of Electronic Voting Machines

Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: November 23, 2022
Brazil's Bolsonaro is challenging the results of electronic voting machines after an audit
Supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro protest the results of the election in Brasilia, on Nov. 2, 2022. Bolsonaro is asking a Brazilian court to invalidate 59 percent of electronic machines after an audit found significant irregularities. (Image: SERGIO LIMA/AFP via Getty Images)

Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro is heading to court in an attempt to save an election officially ratified as lost to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a man widely described by both domestic and international media as a “leftist.”

Portuguese language outlet Gazeta Do Povo reported on Nov. 22 that Bolsonaro sought to invalidate the results of almost 280,000 electronic ballot boxes, representing an astonishing 59.2 percent of all machines used in the country’s electoral process.

The suit harkened back to the controversy in the aftermath of the 2020 U.S. presidential elections as an independent audit alleged that electronic voting devices made in between 2009 and 2011, in addition to 2013 and 2015, all generated anomalously identical log files.

Log files are designed to record and keep track of all actions, such as number of ballots scanned and any administrative adjustments or overrides, each individual device carries out during the course of its usage.

Lula defeated Bolsonaro by a narrow margin of 50.9 to 49.1 percent of the popular vote in the runoff election.

The defeat has led to weeks of intense and fervent protest by Bolsonaro’s supporters, including from truckers and members of law enforcement, alleging potential election fraud.

Some western commentators have noted that Brazil’s legal system provides little to no recourse once an election result is formally announced, and as such, large swathes of protestors have often gathered around military facilities in an attempt to sway the nation’s defense to action.

But on Nov. 10, the Defense Ministry released a 63-page report to election authorities supporting the legitimacy of the election results as they stand, The Guardian reported.

The outlet added that just a day earlier, the Brazilian Bar Association likewise supported the election results as legitimate.

An article by Reuters on the legal challenge described Bolsonaro as “a far-right former army captain” who “has for years claimed that the country’s electronic voting system is liable to fraud, without providing substantiating evidence.”

The report was unilaterally dismissive of Bolsonaro and his chances to succeed while at the same time uncritically upholding the formal results and downplaying the veracity of the protestors’ concerns.