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On Wednesday (23/11), Superior Electoral Court (TSE) President Alexandre de Moraes denied the request for extraordinary verification of the result of the second round of elections and the annulment of 279,300 electronic voting machines. The request had been submitted on Tuesday (22) by the Liberal Party (PL), the party of President Jair Bolsonaro.
To support the request, the party submitted to the TSE a report prepared by a private consultancy (Instituto Voto Legal), which alleges that ballot boxes prior to the 2020 model, about 60% of the total used in the elections, have a unique serial number, when, in the opinion of the consultancy, they should present an individualized number, because only then it would be possible to identify them properly and carry out an audit.
However, authorities and experts heard by the local media attest that the absence of this serial number does not mean that the results are compromised or that it is not possible to associate the votes to each ballot box, since this number is not the only form of identification, nor what confers authenticity to the electronic voting machines.
They argue that each electronic voting machine, even older models, has a unique digital certificate. This certificate is not repeated, and it is used to digitally sign each urn’s files. This allows individual verification of the equipment and the system that runs on the ballot boxes.
In the report, the PL did not ask for the invalidation of the same ballot boxes that were also used in the first round, when the party elected the largest number of Congressmen in both houses of the Congress.
After the report was presented, Moraes, gave a period of 24 hours for the PL to present the complete data, including regarding the first round, since both used the same ballot boxes. He also said that, if the party did not comply, the action could be rejected by the TSE, which ended up happening.
Moraes considered that the party’s action did not present any indication or proof of fraud that would justify the reassessment of part of the votes recorded by the ballot boxes.
The minister also condemned Bolsonaro’s re-election campaign coalition to pay a fine of R$ 22,9 million for litigation in bad faith – when Justice is triggered irresponsibly.
Moraes also ordered the blocking and suspension of resources from the parties’ fund until the fine is settled; the opening of an administrative process to investigate “possible misuse of the party structure, including the Party Fund”; the inclusion of the event in the inquiry that investigates the digital militias. The coalition may appeal against the minister’s decision.
Progressive Party (PP) and Republicans
The other parties that are part of PL’s coalition said they do not agree with the accusation against the electronic ballot boxes. Both also asked to stay out of the fine imposed on the coalition that supported President Jair Bolsonaro.
In fact, media sources say that even Valdemar da Costa Neto, PL’s leader and the person who announced the action against the second round, spoke to Superior Electoral Court (TSE) Ministers to tell them that he believes in the integrity of the electoral system. He would be acting under pressure by the ideological group that supports Jair Bolsonaro and was recently elected using PL as party.
For journalists, Valdemar would be following the requests made by this group – which is the largest a party elected for the Federal Chamber and the Senate this year – in order to safeguard the funds that they would provide to his party after they are properly sworn in, which happens in February.
Meeting with the Armed Forces
On Thursday (24/11), President Bolsonaro met with the commanders of the Armed Forces. At the meeting, the commanders would have advised against any reaction to Alexandre de Moraes’ decision. They also informed that there is no will among the generals for an eventual public demonstration by the Armed Forces against Minister Moraes.