Rio de Janeiro tests electronic voting system in by-elections

Voting system gets tested in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Antonio Augusto/Secom/TSE
Voting system gets tested in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Antonio Augusto/Secom/TSE

Electoral officials in Rio de Janeiro state carried out an audit of Brazil’s electronic voting system during a pair of mayoral by-elections this weekend. The tests in the municipalities of Silva Jardim and Santa Maria Madalena were part of proceedings to attest to the safety and integrity of electronic ballot boxes, after their trustworthiness was brought into question by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

After polling, the Federal Police escorted the ballot boxes in question to the regional electoral court of Rio de Janeiro, where the hardware was subjected to an authenticity assessment, watched over by members of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), public prosecutors, and representatives of political parties and the Brazilian Bar Association.

The entire process was filmed and broadcast by the Rio de Janeiro electoral court, and monitored by an outsourced auditing firm. Once complete, Supreme Court Justice Luís Roberto Barroso — who presides over the TSE — gave a press conference confirming that the electronic system passed the assessment, stressing that it will be used for the 2022 general elections. 

“We have auditing mechanisms before, during, and after the elections. People can have whatever opinion they desire, but they don’t have the right to distort facts or lie so that facts will coincide with their opinion,” said Mr. Barroso, without directly mentioning President Bolsonaro.

Further audits of the voting system are scheduled ahead of the 2022 elections, including the disclosure of source codes for the electoral systems and the so-called Public Security Test (TPS).