On Sunday, supporters of the government rallied in several Brazilian cities to demand changes to the country’s electronic voting system, which far-right President Jair Bolsonaro claims is untrustworthy.
Bolsonaro has become increasingly insistent on the use of auditable printed ballots, as part of a mixed system in which electronic urns would also print out receipts that could be counted if any results were challenged.
Bolsonaro warned demonstrators in Brasilia in a video that elections will not be held next year “if they are not clean and democratic.”
“People who say electronic voting is safe and subject to audits are liars,” he said.
Bolsonaro claims that the electronic urns have allowed electoral fraud, though he has failed to provide evidence of such cases.
A supporter of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro holds a sign which reads “printed and auditable vote” during a protest calling for a printed and auditable vote in Brasilia, Brazil August 1, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado
Brazil’s top electoral court and members of its Supreme Court say there has not been fraud in the electronic voting system, which they say is efficient and can be audited.
Critics say that Bolsonaro, like former U.S. President Donald Trump, is sowing election doubts to pave the way for him not to accept defeat in 2022.
With his popularity falling after overseeing the world’s second deadliest coronavirus outbreak, opinion polls show he trails former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, though neither of them has officially announced they will run.
Bolsonaro supporters also held demonstrations on Sunday in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s two largest cities, to back the electoral change he wants.
A Congressional committee will vote this week on a bill proposing the paper ballot, but it is expected to face defeat.
Lower House Speaker Arthur Lira, an ally of Bolsonaro’s, opposes the proposal and has called the discussion on the voting system a “waste of time.”