Brazilian court pressures military over review of voting system: document

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Brazil’s Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) asked the Defense Ministry on Tuesday to hand over the report it prepared on the electronic voting machines used in this month’s elections, a process baselessly criticized by President Jair Bolsonaro as vulnerable to fraud.

The TCU requested a copy of the report in a request seen by Reuters and said that, after a military inspection of the voting machines on election day, “state security will be strengthened with the disclosure of such information.”

The TCU press office confirmed that he had made the request. The Defense Ministry and the presidential press office did not respond to requests for comment.

Brazilian media have reported that the Ministry of Defense has refused to reveal the results of its review or to comment on its status.

The newspaper O Globo said on Tuesday that the ministry told Bolsonaro that the inspection of the results of 385 machines found no irregularities, but the president did not authorize a public release of the findings.

The O Globo report cited accounts from three unnamed generals, one of whom said that Bolsonaro asked the military to look for more irregularities.

Bolsonaro has criticized the electronic voting machines and the Federal Supreme Court magistrates who run the national electoral authority for opposing a return to ballots. Fraud has never been detected in the electronic system and Bolsonaro has presented no new evidence of such a risk.

Bolsonaro has denounced that the magistrates favor his leftist rival, former president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, which raises fears that he will challenge the result if he is defeated.

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Lula led the first round of the presidential elections with 48% of the vote against 43% for Bolsonaro and there will be a second round on October 30.

After having better unemployment than anticipated by most polls in the first round, Bolsonaro has silenced his criticism of the voting system.

The electoral representatives of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) accepted the participation of the military in verifying the security of the electronic voting machines and in verifying their results on election day. The TSE said that it has not heard from the Ministry of Defense about its conclusions after the vote.

The TCU, which reports to congress, also audited the results of 4,000 electronic voting machines in Brazil’s state capitals and found no differences with the TSE’s official results.

The Ministry of Defense has 15 days to respond to the TCU’s request.

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