2022 Race

Brazilian electoral courts ramp up voting machine inspections

voting machine inspections
Voting machine in Londrina, Paraná. Photo: Isaac Fontana/Shutterstock

Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court decided to increase the number of electronic voting machines submitted to inspections prior to the October elections. Authorities said auditors will scrutinize between 3 and 6 percent of all ballot boxes in every voting section. Until this year, electoral law capped inspections at 3 percent of machines.

Moreover, electoral judges across the country will have to oversee the verification of operating systems and data transfers to the Superior Electoral Court’s servers in Brasília. Prior to 2022, that only happened in special cases.

The changes are part of the courts’ attempts to counter President Jair Bolsonaro’s firehosing of attacks against the reliability of Brazil’s 100-percent electronic voting system. The president claims machines can be easily rigged — and the Armed Forces also raised questions about the lack of printed ballots to supplement the machines.

During the 2020 municipal elections, servers of Brazil’s electoral authorities suffered a cyberattack that delayed vote counts in multiple areas of the country. Officials were adamant, however, that the hackers were unable to tamper with voting data. Mr. Bolsonaro has used the incident as “proof” of foul play.