2022 Race

Electoral court authorizes Armed Forces to inspect ballot code

voting machine Armed Forces
Photo: Shutterstock

In one of his last moves as chief justice of the Superior Electoral Court, Justice Edson Fachin has given permission for nine officers to be included in a military delegation tasked with inspecting the source code of Brazil’s electronic voting machines. 

He also extended the deadline for the inspection to take place by seven days, until August 19.

Defense Minister Paulo Sérgio Nogueira had requested the Armed Forces be given “urgent” access to the code earlier this month. The code has been available for consultation since October 2021. 

Last week, the court decided to exclude from the military delegation a colonel who spread fake news about the electoral system on social media. The other members are career military personnel who understand programming, according to the Defense Ministry.

Justice Fachin’s decision takes place amid tensions between the electoral court and members of the Armed Forces, who largely support President Jair Bolsonaro’s claims that electronic voting machines can be rigged — although there is no evidence of this.

On Tuesday evening, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes will take office to replace Justice Fachin at the head of the country’s highest electoral authority. He has already indicated that he will take a hard line on questions threatening the democratic process.

President Bolsonaro was invited to the ceremony, but it is not yet known whether he will attend. Analysts point out that his presence could be interpreted by his supporters as a gesture of “weakness” towards Justice Moraes, who is responsible for investigations involving the president and is seen by him as his enemy.