Bolsonaro is sowing doubt in Brazil's electoral system. His claims could endanger his own candidacy.

After a sequence of claims by Bolsonaro that the nation’s digital voting system is inadequate and that it has been “violated” in previous years, Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court (TSE), which oversees elections, has opened an administrative inquiry into the president’s statements. It has additionally requested that Bolsonaro be investigated as half of a bigger ongoing probe into the proliferation of “fake news” and disinformation campaigns in Brazil. Both might include vital political consequences for Bolsonaro.

If the TSE inquiry finds that the president abused his place to unfold misinformation, Bolsonaro may very well be barred from operating for workplace for eight years, in response to Wallace Corbo, professor of constitutional regulation at Getúlio Vargas Foundation University (FGV).

“As president, Bolsonaro is allowed and expected to take part in public discussions,” Corbo stated. “What he cannot do — and has been doing — is systematically attack the electoral system by which he was elected.”

In a press convention final week, Bolsonaro promised to show that Brazil´s internationally praised voting system is rigged, however supplied no proof and acknowledged, “we don’t have proof.” He solely performed a sequence of inconclusive YouTube movies and media studies, examples that Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court (TSE) refuted.

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This week, he doubled-down on his makes an attempt to foster doubts concerning the electoral system, tweeting confidential paperwork from a 2018 federal investigation that Bolsonaro claims present the nation’s voting system was “violated.”

But in response to the TSE, which has repeatedly rebutted Bolsonaro’s claims about election-rigging, the hacking episode didn’t end in fraud. “It is worth reiterating that electronic voting machines are never networked. As they are not connected to the internet, they are not subject to remote access, which prevents any kind of external interference in the voting and counting process. For this reason, it is possible to say, with a margin of certainty, that the investigated invasion had no impact on the outcome of the elections,” the courtroom stated in an announcement.

In response to the courtroom’s determination to research him, the President has insisted that his concern is solely concerning the elections’ integrity, and stated that he “won’t accept [any] intimidation.”

“Questionable elections will not be permitted next year. Brazil will have an election next year. Clean, democratic elections,” Bolsonaro stated.

Nevertheless, his repeated assaults on the present programs have raised issues that the incumbent is making ready to reject unfavorable outcomes.

During a YouTube livestream on Thursday, Bolsonaro — who has repeatedly insisted on the necessity to audit ballots with paper data — stated he wouldn’t ask to audit the 2022 elections if he emerges victorious. “Any side can question the elections. If I win I won’t question them … I won’t waste my time,” he stated.

A Datafolha ballot from July 7 and eight presently reveals Bolsonaro greater than 20 factors behind his foremost opponent, former leftwing president Lula da Silva, in a primary spherical of voting.

Electronic voting

Bolsonaro’s feedback have significantly focused digital voting, warning that his supporters could not settle for the outcomes of the present system. Brazil has had totally computerized elections since 2000 and the TSE has recognized no fraud since then.

“If this method continues, they’re going to have problems,” the President stated in a July radio interview, in response to Reuters. “Because one side, which is our side, may not accept the result.”

Earlier this yr, within the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot in Washington, Bolsonaro claimed that Brazil might face even worse repercussions if it would not implement paper ballots. “If Brazil doesn’t have a printed vote in 2022, a way of auditing the vote, we will have a worse problem than the US,” he advised supporters in entrance of the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia then.

(Electronic voting programs can nevertheless be audited, as they have been when 2014 presidential candidate Aecio Neves demanded a recount after shedding to Dilma Rousseff. The audit, which took one yr, confirmed Rousseff’s victory.)

In an interview with CNN Brasil on Wednesday, Brazilian parliamentary chief and Bolsonaro ally Arthur Lira stated that he trusts digital voting machines, however that he would help altering laws about voting process so as to improve public belief, together with the potential use of the printed vote system.

But some election officers worry Bolsonaro’s claims could have already broken public confidence within the upcoming vote. “The threat against elections, polluting the public debate with disinformation, lies, hatred and conspiracy theories is an anti-democratic behavior,” wrote TSE President Luis Barroso this week.

Bolsonaro nonetheless argues that even in his position as president, he has the “right to criticize” electoral processes — flawed or not. “The TSE has taken certain steps to investigate and accuse me of undemocratic acts,” Bolsonaro responded in an interview with the radio program Jovem Pan on Wednesday. “I can be wrong, but I have the right to criticize. We are not wrong. We didn’t make mistakes!”

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