Brazil armed forces’ report on election finds no fraud

Nov 9, 2022, 4:14 AM | Updated: 9:00 pm
A supporter of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro holds a sign that reads in Portuguese: "No to Com...

A supporter of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro holds a sign that reads in Portuguese: "No to Communism!" during a protest against his defeat in the country's presidential runoff, outside a military base in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. Some supporters are calling on the military to keep Bolsonaro in power, even as his administration signaled a willingness to hand over the reins to his rival, President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

(AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

              Supporters of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula gather on Paulista Av. after he defeated incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in a presidential run-off election to become the country's next president, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
            
              Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, third from left, leaves his official residence of Alvorada Palace to go to his office at Planalto palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, the morning after losing reelection to former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Truckers supportive of President Jair Bolsonaro block a highway to protest his run-off election loss to former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Embu das Artes on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
            
              Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, center, accompanied by Vice President-elect Geraldo Alckmin, left, speaks during a press conference after meeting with the president of the Supreme Electoral Court, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. On his first day in Brazil's capital after winning the runoff election, Da Silva is meeting with the leaders of each house of Congress ahead of his inauguration on Jan. 1. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, shakes hands with Chamber of Deputies President Arthur Lira, next to his Vice President-elect Geraldo Alckmin, after a meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. On his first day in Brazil's capital after winning the election, Da Silva is meeting with the leaders of each house of Congress ahead of his inauguration on Jan. 1. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, accompanied by economist Aloizio Mercadante, speaks during a press conference after meeting with the president of the Supreme Electoral Court, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. On his first day in Brazil's capital after winning the runoff election, Da Silva is meeting with the leaders of each house of Congress ahead of his inauguration on Jan. 1. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              A supporter of President Jair Bolsonaro attends a protest against his defeat to President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the presidential runoff election, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Nov 6, 2022. Thousands of supporters called on the military to keep Bolsonaro in power, even as his administration signaled a willingness to hand over the reins to da Silva. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
            
              A supporter of President Jair Bolsonaro attends a protest against his defeat in the presidential runoff election, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Nov 6, 2022. Thousands of supporters called on the military Sunday to keep the far-right leader in power, even as his administration signaled a willingness to hand over the reins to his rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
            
              Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro looks on after speaking from his official residence the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022. This was Bolsonaro´s first public comment since losing the Oct. 30 presidential runoff to President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              A supporter of President Jair Bolsonaro dressed in fatigues, kneels with his arms spread out in front of Brazilian national flags, during a protest against his defeat in the presidential runoff election, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. Thousands of supporters called on the military Wednesday to keep the far-right leader in power, even as his administration signaled a willingness to hand over the reins to his rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)
            
              A supporter of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro holds a sign that reads in Portuguese: "No to Communism!" during a protest against his defeat in the country's presidential runoff, outside a military base in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. Some supporters are calling on the military to keep Bolsonaro in power, even as his administration signaled a willingness to hand over the reins to his rival, President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
            
              Truckers supportive of President Jair Bolsonaro block a highway to protest his run-off election loss to former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Itaborai, Rio de Janerio state, Brazil, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The defense ministry released a report Wednesday highlighting flaws in Brazil’s electoral systems and proposing improvements, but there was nothing to substantiate claims of fraud from some of President Jair Bolsonaro’s supporters protesting his Oct. 30 defeat.

It was the first comment by the military on the runoff election, which has drawn protests nationwide even as the transition has begun for President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s inauguration Jan. 1. Thousands have been gathering outside military installations in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Brasilia and other cities calling for intervention by the armed forces to keep Bolsonaro in office.

When the defense ministry announced this week that it would present its report on the election, some Bolsonaro supporters rejoiced, anticipating the imminent revelation of a smoking gun. That didn’t happen.

“There is nothing astonishing in the document,” Diego Aranha, an associate professor of systems security at Aarhus University in Denmark, who has been a member of the Brazilian electoral authority’s public security tests, told The Associated Press. “The limitations found are the same ones analysts have been complaining about for decades … but that doesn’t point to evidence of irregularity.”

Defense Minister Paulo Nogueira wrote that “it is not possible to say” with certainty the computerzed vote tabulation system hasn’t been infilitrated by malicious code, but the 65-page report does not cite any abnormalities in the vote count. Based on the possible risk, however, the report suggests creating a commission comprised of members of civil society and auditing entities to further investigate the functioning of the electronic voting machines.

Bolsonaro, whose less than two-point loss was the narrowest margin since Brazil’s 1985 return to democracy, hasn’t specifically cried foul since the election.

Still, his continued refusal to concede defeat or congratulate his opponent left ample room for supporters to draw their own conclusions. And that followed more than a year of Bolsonaro repeatedly claiming Brazil’s electronic voting system is prone to fraud, without ever presenting any evidence — even when ordered to do so by the electoral authority.

In the months leading up to the vote, as polls showed him trailing da Silva, Bolsonaro pushed for the military to take on an expanded role in the electoral process. The election authority, in a gesture apparently aimed at placating the president, allowed for armed forces’ unprecedented participation. The report presented Wednesday was signed by the defense minister and representatives from the army, navy and air force.

The electoral authority said in a statement it “received with satisfaction the defense ministry’s final report that, like all other oversight bodies, did not point to the existence of any fraud or inconsistency in the electronic voting machines and 2022 electoral process.”

Bolsonaro didn’t immediately comment on the report, nor did the presidential palace respond to an AP email. His party’s leader said Tuesday the president would question election results only if the report provided “real” evidence.

Da Silva, speaking Wednesday in the capital, Brasilia, on his first visit since the election, told reporters that the vote was clean and Brazil’s electronic voting machine system is an achievement.

“No one will believe coup-mongering discourse from someone who lost the elections,” da Silva said. “We know that the institutions were attacked by some government authorities.”

Brazil began using an electronic voting system in 1996. Election security experts consider such systems less secure than hand-marked paper ballots, because they leave no auditable paper trail. Brazil’s system is, however, closely scrutinized and domestic authorities and international observers have never found evidence of it being exploited to commit fraud. Outside security audits have been done to prevent the system’s software from being surreptitiously altered. In addition, prior to election day, tests are conducted to assure no tampering has occurred.

The electoral authority said in its statement Wednesday that it would analyze the defense ministry’s suggestions. Aranha, the system security professor, said the military’s suggestions to address flaws aren’t specific and would actually make an audit even more difficult.

This year, the armed forces also conducted a partial audit, comparing hundreds of voting stations’ results to the official tally. The idea was first floated by Bolsonaro, who in May said they “will not perform the role of just rubber stamping the electoral process, or taking part as spectators.”

The federal government’s accounts watchdog carried out a partial audit similar to that of the military, tallying votes in 604 voting machines across Brazil. It found no discrepancies. Likewise, Brazil’s Bar Association said in a report Tuesday that it had found nothing that pointed to suspicion of irregularities.

“There are important lessons from all this,” said Paulo Calmon, a political science professor at the University of Brasilia, who continued: “primarily, the idea to formally involve the armed forces in electoral processes is an error that should never be repeated.”

___

Associated Press writer Carla Bridi reported from Brasilia. AP videojournalist Juan Arraez and writer David Biller in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby listens to debate at the General Synod in London, ...
Associated Press

Census: Christians a minority in England; non-religious grow

LONDON (AP) — Fewer than half the people in England and Wales consider themselves Christian, according to the most recent census — the first time the country’s official religion has been followed by a minority of the population. Britain has become less religious — and less white — in the decade since the last census, […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Millennial Money: 4 reasons for thrift store gifts this year

Thrifting is hot, and Goodwill finds are cool again. But while we’re thrilled to find the perfect throwback tee for our own closet, gifting used goods still carries a stigma for some. It shouldn’t. Secondhand gifts are better for your wallet, your community and the environment. “The planet is drowning in excess stuff,” says Lauren […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Greece: Schools closed following quake in rare spot

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Authorities have ordered school closures following a magnitude 4.8 earthquake that struck an area in southern Greece where seismic activity is rare. The quake, east of the island of Evia, occurred at 6:32 a.m. Tuesday, 58 kilometers (36 miles) northeast of Athens and was felt in the Greek capital, but caused […]
1 day ago
A driver waits in a traffic jam in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletk...
Associated Press

Uneasy calm grips Ukraine as West prepares winter aid

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — An uneasy calm hung over Kyiv on Tuesday as residents of the Ukrainian capital did what they could to prepare for anticipated Russian missile attacks aiming to take out more energy infrastructure as winter sets in. To ease that pain, NATO allies were making plans to boost provisions of anything from […]
1 day ago
FILE - A worker in protective suit walks through the caution tapes along metal barricades retail sh...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Why are China’s COVID rules so strict?

BEIJING (AP) — At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China set out its “zero-COVID” measures that were harsh, but not out of line with what many other countries were doing to try and contain the virus. While most other nations saw the health and safety regulations as temporary until vaccines were widely available, however, […]
1 day ago
In this photo provided by Fidelity Charitable, Fidelity Charitable President Jacob Pruitt is photog...
Associated Press

Fidelity Charitable: New grants to surpass deposits in 2022

Fidelity Charitable, the nation’s largest grantmaker, expects 2022 will be the first year since 2018 that the value of grants from its donor advised funds exceeds the value of investments going into the funds. Jacob Pruitt, Fidelity Charitable’s president, told The Associated Press that donations this year are on track to set a record, even […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Brazil armed forces’ report on election finds no fraud