Electoral tribunal authorizes armed forces to inspect voting machines

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In one of his last moves as Chief Justice of the Superior Electoral Court, Judge Edson Fachin cleared nine officers to be included in a military delegation to inspect the source code of electronic voting machines in Brazil.

He also extended the deadline for the inspection to take place by seven days, until August 19.

Defense Minister Paulo Sérgio Nogueira had asked the armed forces for “urgent” access to the code earlier this month. The code has been available since October 2021.

Last week, the court decided to exclude from the military delegation a colonel who spread false information about the electoral system on social networks. The other members are career military personnel who understand programming, according to the Department of Defense.

Judge Fachin’s decision comes amid tensions between the electoral court and members of the armed forces, who broadly support claims by President Jair Bolsonaro that electronic voting machines can be rigged – although there is no no proof of that.

On Tuesday evening, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes will take office to replace Justice Fachin as head of the country’s top electoral authority. He has already indicated that he will take a hard line on issues threatening the democratic process.

President Bolsonaro was invited to the ceremony, but it is not yet known whether he will attend. Analysts point out that his presence could be interpreted by his supporters as a gesture of “weakness” towards Judge Moraes, who is in charge of investigations involving the president and is perceived by him as his enemy.

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