Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that his political party would seek to audit the electronic voting system ahead of the next election, fearing it would actively sow mistrust about its eventual results.
“As permitted by electoral law, we will hire a company to do the audit,” Bolsonaro said during a live broadcast on his social media. “People want transparent elections in which the vote is actually counted for their candidate.”
The far-right leader, who trails left-leaning former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in early polls, has for months questioned the reliability of the electoral system despite never providing evidence .
Critics and analysts have raised concerns. Bolsonaro is preparing the ground to contest the results of the October elections in the event of a defeat.
The armed forces say they have suggestions
Bolsonaro also said on his show that the armed forces had made nine suggestions to Brazil’s electoral tribunal to improve the system, but had yet to receive a response.
“Initially, they [the armed forces] raised hundreds of vulnerabilities to comb through. It’s been a long time… If electronic ballots are impregnable, why are they [the electoral court] worried?” the president said.
“The head of the electoral court should thank them, take the necessary measures, discuss with the team of the armed forces so that the elections take place without any suspicion.”
He added that the armed forces “will not play the role of simply endorsing the electoral process or participating as spectators”.
During the broadcast, General Augusto Heleno, one of Bolsonaro’s top advisers, denied a report earlier Thursday by the Reuters news agency that said the director of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency had told senior Brazilian officials last year that Bolsonaro should stop questioning his country’s vote. system.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price, speaking to reporters in Washington, said he would not comment on anything CIA Director Bill Burns may have said to Bolsonaro or to ‘others.
“It is important that Brazilians, as they look forward to their elections later this year, have confidence in their electoral systems and that Brazil is once again able to demonstrate to the world through these elections the enduring strength of Brazilian democracy,” Price said. .
Compulsory voting for adults
Also on Thursday, the day after the voter registration deadline, Brazil’s electoral authority said more than two million Brazilians aged 18 or younger had joined the rolls this year.
In Brazil, voting is compulsory for anyone between the ages of 18 and 70, and failure to vote results in the payment of a small fine. 16 and 17 year olds can vote, but don’t have to.
In the 2018 presidential election, nearly 116 million voters – out of the 147 million people registered – turned up at polling stations.
Brazil’s electoral authority said it received a record number of registration applications this year. The number of young voters registered to vote between January and April increased by 47% compared to the same period before the 2018 elections, he said in a statement.
The push came after local celebrities like singer Anitta as well as Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo made a last-ditch push to sign up as part of national ballot campaigns.