Brazilian electoral court refuses agreement with the army for a parallel vote count


Representatives of the Armed Forces inspect the coding of electronic voting machines that will be used for elections, at the Source Code Inspection Department of the Supreme Electoral Court in Brasilia, Brazil. August 3, 2022. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo

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SAO PAULO, Sept 12 (Reuters) – Brazil’s top electoral authority said on Monday it had reached no agreement with the military to carry out a parallel vote count for the October elections, amid tensions aroused by President Jair Bolsonaro’s questioning of the credibility of the system.

The president, a former captain in the far-right army, has made baseless accusations of voter fraud and pushed the armed forces to conduct their own vote count, part of a campaign that critics say , prepares him to refuse to concede defeat. Bolsonaro is currently trailing in the opinion polls behind his leftist rival, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The statement by the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) came after the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported that military technicians had arranged to visit 385 voting sites across the country and take photos of the final reading of the ballots. ballot boxes, which would be sent to a cyber warfare unit in Brasilia to verify the results in real time.

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The plan, Folha reported, citing unnamed military officials, would “guarantee with 95% confidence” the final outcome of the vote. The newspaper reported that Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, currently head of the TSE, reached an agreement with the armed forces on August 31 allowing military technicians access to the results.

Brazil’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In its statement on Monday, the TSE said “there has been no change from what was defined in the first semester, nor any agreement with the Armed Forces or supervisory entities to allow differentiated access in real time to the data sent for the totalization of the electoral process“. .”

He added that, as with many previous elections, anyone can go to the polling booths and access the freely available final readings to make their own tally.

The TSE statement suggests that the military could simply avail itself of the pre-existing rights of any Brazilian citizen or institution to verify election results.

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Reporting by Peter Frontini Writing by Gabriel Stargardter Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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