The Brazilian military finds no fraud in the election, but refuses to rule it out


Brazil’s military has found no signs of electoral fraud in the country’s 2022 elections, according to a new report released this week. Still, there are concerns that the report could fuel tensions among supporters of outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims about possible fraud on the campaign trail.

Left-wing former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won the presidential election last month, prompting some supporters of Bolsonaro’s far-right party to take to the streets in anger.

This week’s report, made public by Brazil’s defense ministry, found no fraud or irregularities in the election process, but refused to rule out the possibility entirely.

Instead, it described the possibility of a hypothetical security threat in the coding of programs for Brazil’s electronic voting machines. Because its audit did not have full access to the programs’ source code, the Defense Department could not rule out the influence of malicious code, it said.

“It cannot be guaranteed that the programs that were run in the electronic voting machines are free of malicious inserts that alter their intended functionality,” the ministry said, giving no indication that such issues existed. The ministry also urged Brazil’s electoral court to conduct its own investigation.

In a statement published on the court’s website, Chief Electoral Commission Alexandre de Moraes wrote that the court “received with satisfaction the final report of the Ministry of Defense, which, like all other supervisory bodies, did not indicate the presence of fraud or inconsistencies in electronic voting machines and in the 2022 electoral process.”

“The proposals sent to improve the system will be analyzed in due course,” he added.

President-elect Da Silva, meanwhile, condemned the military’s involvement as “deplorable” at a Thursday conference with political allies in Brazil.

“Yesterday something humiliating, miserable happened to our forces. The president of the republic, who is the commander-in-chief of the army, did not have the right to involve the army in setting up a commission to investigate electronic voting, which is something for civil society, political parties and the national parliament, he said, referring to Bolsonaro.

João Cezar de Castro Rocha, a professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, told CNN he believed there was an “underlying strategy” for the report to cast doubt on the election results.

“In this particular case, the deliberately ambiguous tone of the Ministry of Defense – ‘there is no evidence of fraud, but it is said that there may be fraud!’ – aims to keep (Bolsonaro’s) supporters active,” he added.

Bolsonaro, a former military commander with extensive links to the Brazilian military, has not publicly commented on the report or its source. Asked about the CNN report, Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party declined to comment.

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