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Brazil’s ex-president banned from running in elections until 2030 for criticizing voting machines

Brazil’s ex-president banned from running in elections until 2030 for criticizing voting machines

Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been banned from running for office until 2030 by a jury. The judges concluded that Bolsonaro abused his power and cast doubt on the country’s electronic voting system.

Five out of seven judges of Brazil’s highest electoral court agreed that Bolsonaro used government communication channels to promote his campaign and undermined confidence in the electoral process. The ruling specifically focused on a July 2022 meeting where Bolsonaro used government resources to claim the electronic voting system was rigged. Justice Carmen Lucia, a left-wing Supreme Court judge, highlighted the “incontrovertible” evidence supporting the case.

Brazil’s Supreme Court had earlier rejected a corruption case against former Socialist President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, bolstering his chances against Bolsonaro in the election. Lula da Silva in 2017 had been convicted of corruption and money laundering and was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison, although the former leader remained free during the appeal. In January 2023, da Silva was declared the winner in a closely contested election by a margin of approximately 2%, or 2 million votes, and was sworn in as president of Brazil for a third time.

Former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, now the host of a popular show “Tucker on Twitter,” claimed at the time that the election had been “rigged.”

“Think about what’s happening tonight in Brazil,” Carlson said on his show. “Thanks to what was clearly a rigged election, a convicted criminal named Lula da Silva is now the president of the most important country in South America. Millions of people in Brazil understand exactly what happened. They know that their democracy has been kidnapped possibly forever.”

Voting in the country is mandatory for adults and requires in-person participation. While some voters still present photo ID, many use their fingerprints to unlock voting machines. The country has set a goal of implementing biometric identification for all voters by 2023. Smartmatic, contrary to reports suggesting otherwise, does not provide or operate the voting machines themselves in elections.

The Brazilian Bar Association, the bar association charged with regulating the country’s lawyers, carried out extensive monitoring of vote counts during both rounds of Brazil’s elections. Its report stated that no irregularities were observed, stating that “Brazil witnessed clean, transparent and secure elections.”

However, voters have been misled about the security of voting machines in many other cases around the world. In June, a stunning report by one of America’s leading election security experts, J. Alex Halderman, revealed numerous major security flaws with Georgia’s voting machines. The Halderman report, however, did not suggest that vote fraud had occurred.

The ruling by the Brazilian Supreme Court has been celebrated by far-left supporters of Lula da Silva who see it as a necessary measure to preserve “democratic” processes.

However, there is concern that Bolsonaro may appeal the decision and continue to exert influence in future elections. Bolsonaro’s supporters have rallied behind him, claiming he is the victim of an unfair justice system and drawing comparisons to former US President Donald Trump.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, faces a similar trial in Georgia, where investigators say the former president improperly contested the US election, including supporting alternative or “fake” voter lists. ” under a legal theory that the Supreme Court has subsequently struck down. . The investigation implies that Trump asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to “find 11,780 votes.” However, it is unclear whether Donald Trump meant legally or illegally, presenting a significant legal hurdle for prosecutors.

Former Brazilian president Bolsonaro has expressed his disappointment with his own trial, considering it unfair and politically motivated. Brazilian political experts suggest the decision is unlikely to be overturned. The ruling not only prevents Bolsonaro from participating in future elections, but also makes it difficult for him to participate in the 2024 and 2028 municipal elections and the 2026 general elections. In addition, Bolsonaro faces other legal challenges, including criminal investigations, which could further extend his ban from running for office and potentially lead to jail time.

The decision to ban Bolsonaro is the first time a Brazilian president has been suspended for electoral violations rather than criminal offenses in Brazil. In the past, former President Fernando Collor de Mello and current President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva were declared ineligible for different reasons, but later regained eligibility.


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