The Brazilian Minister of Defense, Paulo Sérgio Nogueira, sent an “urgent” request to the Superior Electoral Court to obtain data that has been available for ten months. In a letter delivered to the court on Monday, Mr. Nogueira asked for access to the source codes of the electronic voting machines.
In October 2021, the court has made the source codes available to several institutions for consultation. These range from researchers to political parties and also include the armed forces. For most of them, access is granted inside the headquarters of the electoral authority. Several institutions have already sent representatives to inspect the source codes, including the Prosecutor General, a federal university, and the Senate.
Mr. Nogueira requested that the electoral tribunal host a delegation of military officers between August 2 and 12. The Department of Defense said The Brazilian report that the letter has been classified as “urgent” because Election Day is two months away.
Prior to 2021, the Armed Forces had never before expressed interest in inspecting the electoral system. They only started to do so last year, under the auspices of President Jair Bolsonaro – who for years tried to sow mistrust in the electronic system used for almost three decades without any case of fraud is recorded.
A week ago, the Minister of Defense pledged to abide by the Inter-American Democratic Charter – a 2001 document in which the countries of the Americas pledge to “maintain and strengthen the democratic system in the region”. But his actions go against that.
Mr. Nogueira told a Senate committee in July that the armed forces would “go all the way” in what he called a “mission” to improve the transparency and security of the upcoming elections. In June, he declined to tell lawmakers whether the armed forces would accept the election results.