Brazil’s military has found no evidence of vote rigging in the 2022 election, according to a new report released this week. However, concerns persist that the report could fuel tensions among supporters of outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims about possible campaign fraud.
Former leftist president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won the presidential vote in a runoff last month, prompting some supporters of far-right Bolsonaro to take to the streets in anger.
This week’s report, released by Brazil’s Defense Ministry, showed no fraud or inconsistency in the election process, but refused to rule out the possibility.
Instead, he described the potential for a hypothetical security threat in the coding of programs for Brazil’s electronic voting machines. Because his audit did not have full access to the programs’ source code, the Defense Ministry could not rule out the influence of malicious code, he said.
“It is not possible to guarantee that the programs that ran on the electronic voting machines are free of malicious insertions that alter their intended function,” the ministry said, offering no evidence to suggest such problems existed. . The ministry also asked Brazil’s Electoral Court to conduct its own investigation.
In a statement published on the court’s website, the head of the electoral authority, Alexandre de Moraes, wrote that the court “received with satisfaction the final report of the Ministry of Defense, which, like all other control bodies, did not indicate the existence of any fraud or inconsistency in the electronic voting machines and in the 2022 electoral process”.
“The suggestions sent to improve the system will be analyzed in due course,” he added.
Meanwhile, President-elect da Silva condemned the involvement of the military as “deplorable” during a conference Thursday with political allies in Brasilia.
“Yesterday something humiliating, deplorable happened to our armed forces. A president of the republic, who is the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, had no right to involve the Armed Forces in the creation of a commission of inquiry into electronic ballots, a matter for civil society, political parties and the National Congress, he said, referring to Bolsonaro.
João Cezar de Castro Rocha, a professor at Rio de Janeiro State University, 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 could be fraud!’ – is intended to keep (Bolsonaro’s) supporters mobilized,” he added.
Bolsonaro, a former army captain who made much of his ties to Brazil’s military, has not publicly commented on the report or its origins. Asked about the CNN report, Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party declined to comment.