Wed | Dec 7, 2022

Brazil election agency rejects Bolsonaro push to void votes

Published:Thursday | November 24, 2022 | 8:57 AM
Valdemar Costa Neto, the leader of President Jair Bolsonaro's Liberal Party (centre) attends a press conference regarding an investigation carried out by the party pointing out inconsistencies in voting machines used in the general elections, in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, November 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The head of Brazil's electoral authority has rejected the request from President Jair Bolsonaro's political party to annul ballots cast on most electronic voting machines, which would have overturned the October 30 election.

Alexandre de Moraes had issued a prior ruling that implicitly raised the possibility that Bolsonaro's Liberal Party could suffer from such a challenge.

He conditioned analysis of the request on the presentation of an amended report to include results from the first electoral round, on October 2, in which the party won more seats in both congressional houses than any other, and he established a 24-hour deadline.

Earlier Wednesday, party president Valdemar Costa and lawyer Marcelo de Bessa held a press conference and said there would be no amended report.

“The complete bad faith of the plaintiff's bizarre and illicit request ... was proven, both by the refusal to add to the initial petition and the total absence of any evidence of irregularities and the existence of a totally fraudulent narrative of the facts,” de Moraes wrote in his decision hours later.

He also ordered the suspension of government funds for the Liberal Party's coalition until a fine of 23 million reais (US$4.3 million) for bad faith litigation is paid.

On Tuesday, de Bessa filed a 33-page request on behalf of Bolsonaro and Costa citing a software bug in the majority of Brazil's machines — they lack individual identification numbers in their internal logs — to argue all votes they recorded should be nullified. De Bessa said that doing so would leave Bolsonaro with 51% of the remaining valid votes.

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