Bolsonaro says in internal meetings: “If there is no scrutiny, there will be no elections” Malo Gaspar

Jair Bolsonaro at the graduation ceremony at TSE, in 2018

President Jair Bolsonaro’s crusade on electronic voting machines will not be limited to an audit that must be contracted by his own party, the PL.

The chief executive also wants to revitalize the armed forces, the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU) and even the Attorney General’s Office (AGU) to oversee the electoral process, according to the president’s interlocutors heard privately by the column.

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“If there is no scrutiny, there will be no elections,” the President of the Republic said in one of the special sessions he held to address the matter, according to a witness at the scene.

In recent weeks, teams from the campaign and government agencies that Bolsonaro wants to see in action have been mobilized for meetings and discussions with the president on how to operationalize it.

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The idea is that the Armed Forces, the Cash Control Unit, and the AGU form parallel fronts to the scrutiny that must be contracted to by the PL. Each of these institutions will separately pay the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to work on election inspections.

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Specialists heard by the column estimate that Bolsonaro’s attack falls within the rules of the game, because there is a TSE decision authorizing this type of work.

However, the initiative may stress the environment even more, because in practice it will once again test the limits of institutions.

The problem could arise if, in the course of the work, it became apparent that the armed forces, the CGU and the AGU were not acting in the name of the public interest, but to give Bolsonaro ammunition to attack electoral justice.

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Bolsonaro’s allies point out that the TSE decision, from December last year, states that political parties, the CGU and the armed forces “are considered supervisory entities, with legitimacy to participate in the stages of the inspection process.”

The relevant resolution – No. 23,673 – was approved at the end of last year by the plenary session of the Turkish Stock Exchange during the presidency of Minister Luis Roberto Barroso. The rapporteur was the current head of TSE, Edson Fachin.

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The TSE text also states that entities “may form a consortium” for the purposes of inspection and audit of the electronic voting system.

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The president’s strategy of engaging the armed forces, control unit, monetary unit, and general unit in election observation is viewed with reservations among the military.

The armed forces do not scrutinize. They are used to ensure that voting and counting are guaranteed, during voting days, at the request of the regional electoral courts, after approval by the Supreme Electoral Court,” a source close to the high leadership commented in the column.

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PL, Bolsonaro’s party led by Valdemar Costa Neto, is facing difficulties in contracting a company to monitor the various stages of the electoral process.

Obstacles include finding a company that is credible in the marketplace and accepts the task as well as determining the value of the audit itself, which no one knows for sure, because it is not known for certain what the scope of the business will be.

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Bolsonaro’s interlocutors estimate that given the president’s ambition, this amount should exceed the one million Brazilian reals mark.

Labor representatives have visited the Tokyo Stock Exchange on at least three occasions. According to TSE, the first visit took place on November 30, 2021 – the same day Bolsonaro joined the party – to examine the source codes of the electronic voting system.

The second visit took place on December 9, to check the security of the electoral system. “During the visit, technicians from the IT secretariat of the Tokyo Stock Exchange provided various information about the electronic voting machine and gave an overview of the Brazilian electronic voting system,” the court said.

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Last week, one of Bolsonaro’s campaign lawyers, former TSE Minister Tarcisio Vieira, accompanied one of the stages of public security testing, when polls are hack-proof.

Former TSE Secretary Giuseppe Janino, known as the father of the ballot box, says the inspection itself is not a problem. “The use of art firms employed by political parties is even what electoral justice wants: the parties’ participation, using the advice of art firms to do the work in the best possible way,” evaluates

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Ballot boxes that record Brazilian votes have been used since the 1996 municipal elections. No accusation of fraud has ever been substantiated.

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