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Brazil’s Bolsonaro challenges electoral defeat, alleges signs of ‘serious flaws’ in voting machines

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The Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro launched a challenge against the recent electoral results of his country that determined his defeat before the socialist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

On November 2, Bolsonaro admitted that “the elections are over” in a move that many saw as a sign of his intention to begin a transition of power to Lula after the country’s Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) ratified the results. However, on Wednesday, he changed his tune over concerns about some voting machines and blamed a software bug.

Like former President Trump, whom Bolsonaro openly admires, he has claimed that electronic voting machines are prone to fraud.

Following a results audit conducted by his coalition, Bolsonaro said his party found “signs of irreparable failure” in some machines. He has not provided any evidence, even when ordered by the electoral court.

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His allies claimed to have found “signs of serious flaws that generate uncertainties and make it impossible to validate the results generated” in older models of voting machines. They have yet to provide evidence for these claims.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks from his official Alvorada Palace residence in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, the leader’s first public comments since he lost the Oct. 30 presidential runoff.
(AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Lula won the elections with 50.9% of the votes compared to Bolsonaro’s 49.1%, and the claim would affect some 280,000 voting machines, according to the BBC. The result would go to 51.05% for Bolsonaro and 48.95% for Lula if the affected votes were invalidated.

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The TSE told Bolsonaro’s coalition that they have 24 hours to submit the audit of both rounds of voting, or the body will reject the party’s claims.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is running for re-election, smiles before a presidential debate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, October 28, 2022. Da Silva will face Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro in a second presidential round.  on October 30.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is running for re-election, smiles before a presidential debate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, October 28, 2022. Da Silva will face Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro in a second presidential round. on October 30.
(AP Photo/Bruna Brado)

Gleisi Hoffmann, the president of Lula’s party, called Bolsonaro’s complaint little more than a “trick.”

“No more procrastination, irresponsibility, insults to institutions and democracy,” he wrote on Twitter. “The election was decided by vote and Brazil needs peace to build a better future.”

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The Brazilian Social Democracy Party called Bolsonaro’s complaint “nonsensical” and said that “institutions, the international community and Brazilian society” would resist the effort to question the results.

Demonstrators gather during a protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, calling for his impeachment over his government's handling of the pandemic and allegations of corruption in COVID-19 vaccine purchases in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

Demonstrators gather during a protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, calling for his impeachment over his government’s handling of the pandemic and allegations of corruption in COVID-19 vaccine purchases in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Saturday, October 2, 2021.
(AP Photo/Andre Penner)

The Associated Press reported that the bug in question was not known about before. One expert, Wilson Ruggiero, a professor of computer engineering and digital systems at the Polytechnic School of the University of Sao Paulo, told the agency that each voting machine can still be easily identified through other means, such as its city and electoral district. .

President Biden and other international leaders have publicly acknowledged da Silva’s victory, as have some of Bolsonaro’s closest allies.

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In addition to cabinet members’ worldwide recognition of Lula’s victory, governors-elect and evangelical leaders who have been strident supporters of Bolsonaro have already offered proposals to the incoming leftist government.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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