RIO DE JANEIRO — For greater than a yr, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil had warned that he won’t settle for a loss in final month’s presidential election. Then he misplaced. In response, he reluctantly agreed to start the transition of energy — whereas his allies inspected the election outcomes for proof of something amiss.
This week, his marketing campaign claimed to have discovered it: a small software program bug within the voting machines. On Tuesday, the marketing campaign filed a request to successfully overturn the election in Mr. Bolsonaro’s favor, saying the bug ought to nullify votes from about 60 % of the voting machines.
Of the remaining votes, Mr. Bolsonaro would win 51 %, the marketing campaign mentioned, making him the victor as a substitute of the leftist former president who defeated him, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The request was a Hail Mary. Unbiased consultants mentioned the bug had no impression on the integrity of the vote. After which, late Wednesday, Brazil’s elections chief dismissed the criticism and fined the three conservative events behind it greater than $4.3 million for submitting it.
Alexandre de Moraes, a Supreme Court docket justice who runs Brazil’s electoral company and who has change into one in all Mr. Bolsonaro’s most distinguished political adversaries, mentioned in a call Wednesday evening that the marketing campaign’s arguments have been “completely false” and that the request to overturn the election was “ostensibly an assault on the democratic rule of regulation and carried out recklessly, with the goal of encouraging prison and anti-democratic actions.”
Mr. Moraes had beforehand given the marketing campaign 24 hours to clarify why it had solely questioned votes from the election’s second spherical, wherein Mr. Bolsonaro misplaced, and never the primary spherical, wherein his political celebration gained essentially the most seats in Congress utilizing the identical voting machines. After the top of Mr. Bolsonaro’s celebration mentioned on Wednesday that it lacked details about the primary spherical, Mr. Moraes dismissed the criticism.
Mr. Moraes, the elections chief, has change into one in all Brazil’s strongest political figures within the face of criticism of the elections system from Mr. Bolsonaro and his allies. Mr. Moraes’s aggressive response to what he has known as assaults in opposition to Brazil’s democracy, together with his orders for social networks to take down 1000’s of posts, has drawn widespread criticism from the Brazilian proper.
On quick discover on Wednesday afternoon, hours earlier than Mr. Moraes’s choice, Mr. Bolsonaro’s right-wing Liberal Occasion had known as reporters to a lodge in Brasília, the nation’s capital, to clarify its findings.
Valdemar Costa Neto, the celebration’s president, mentioned the software program bug demanded a evaluation of the election outcomes. “There can’t be any doubts concerning the vote,” he mentioned. “If this can be a stain on our democracy, we have now to unravel it now.”
Mr. Moraes on Wednesday additionally ordered an investigation into Mr. Costa Neto and the official who oversaw the celebration’s audit.
The software program bug highlighted by Mr. Bolsonaro’s marketing campaign causes an error in a single doc produced by some older voting machines. The error impacts the identification quantity related to the voting machine. Liberal Occasion officers argued that made it tough to confirm the votes.
Unbiased pc safety consultants who’ve studied Brazil’s voting machines and who reviewed the marketing campaign’s findings mentioned that was fallacious. They mentioned that whereas the bug exists, it has no bearing on the integrity of the outcomes. That’s as a result of there are a number of different methods to establish the voting machines, together with on the very paperwork which have the error.
“They identified a bug that must be corrected. That’s nice, and it’s really simple to appropriate,” mentioned Marcos Simplício, a cybersecurity researcher on the College of São Paulo. However he mentioned that the marketing campaign’s suggestion that votes must be nullified is like arguing a automobile is totaled due to a scratch on the door.
“Attempt to persuade your insurance coverage firm of that,” he mentioned. “It’s nonsense. Full nonsense.”