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Brazil: Electoral Court Fines Bolsonaro's Party Over $4M For 'Bad Faith Litigation'

    Brazil: Electoral Court Fines Bolsonaro's Party Over $4M For 'Bad Faith Litigation'
    Last updated: 6 days ago
    Image credit: TSE [via Jota]

    Facts

    • Alexandre de Moraes, a Brazilian Supreme Court justice and current leader of the electoral court, has ordered outgoing Pres. Jair Bolsonaro's Liberal Party (PL) to pay a fine of almost $4.3M for "bad faith litigation," and has suspended its public funding until the penalty is paid. [1]
    • De Moraes rejected a petition filed on Tuesday by Bolsonaro and the leader of PL, formally challenging the results of this year's tight presidential run-off vote, which was won by leftist leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. According to the justice, all models of electronic ballots were, "perfectly identifiable in a clear, secure, and integral way." [2]
    • PL claimed to have found "serious and irremediable inconsistencies" in older models of digital ballot boxes. They claimed that a software bug made it impossible to individually identify voting machines manufactured before 2020, which account for almost 60% of all those used in the poll. They further stated that ballots submitted via these machines would need to be “invalidated," thus giving the victory to Bolsonaro. [3]
    • Bolsonaro — who has long claimed that Brazil's electronic voting system isn't fraud-proof — would reportedly have won re-election with 51.05% of the vote if the ballots in question had been annulled. [4]
    • Though the complaint was unlikely to change the final results or reverse Lula's victory, it did encourage Bolsonaro's supporters, who have been protesting since his defeat. Their discontent has sparked concerns that a peaceful transition of power could, potentially, be disrupted. [5]
    • While election security experts consider electronic voting systems less secure than hand-marked paper ballots as they leave no auditable paper trail, domestic and international experts have never found evidence of fraud in Brazil's system. [6]
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    Spin

    Left narrative

    Bolsonaro is replicating former US Pres. Trump's undemocratic — and unsuccessful — efforts to overturn the 2020 US election, making good on his threats not to accept defeat. Bolsonaro and his party are litigating in bad faith and desperately trying to undermine Brazilian electoral institutions.

    Right narrative

    This challenge reflects widespread doubts in Brazil, as the corrupt Lula is set to return to office by a narrow margin of support over Bolsonaro. Brazilian institutions are to blame for this distrust, as they have screened questions about both the electoral process and results. It's as if they were trying to hide something while failing to make the country's electoral system auditable.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 2% chance that Jair Bolsonaro will successfully stage a coup by January 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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