Will the Supreme Court rule yet again against the auditable paper ballot?

Elections in Brazil require an exercise of voters’ faith. Since 1996 the electronic ballot has been used, which makes it impossible for any audit for validation of the results. The entire vote counting is delivered to a software, which, by the way, has been shown to be not fraud proof by technology experts. Needless to say, it’s the same system used by only two other countries, Bangladesh and Bhutan. However, the Superior Electoral Court repeatedly tries to persuade Brazilians that it is an advanced, reliable system.

The presidential elections have been fiercely disputed since 2014, after many Brazilians have finally realized the left’s criminal intent to perpetuate itself in power using high doses of corruption, rigging of state organizations and financing of dictatorships. The upcoming presidential elections will take place in 2022 and it appears that sitting president Jair Bolsonaro will stand for re-election against a candidate from the left. The Supreme Court has performed what could be called legal acrobatics in order to make former president Lula eligible again by ruling judges and their decisions biased, and by annulment of decisions of collegiate organs from lower jurisdictions by alleged lack of jurisdiction. In Brazil, the rule of law is that the person convicted in all appellate courts or by a collegiate organ becomes ineligible for election for eight years. Interestingly, the "Clean Slate Law" was sanctioned by Lula himself in 2010.

Representative Bia Kicis is trying to pass a constitutional amendment through Congress to modernize the voting system. The proposal is based on the printed ballot, where the voter registers the vote electronically and it is subsequently printed, the voter then checks, confirms it and then the paper ballot goes directly into the voting box without any manual intervention. It is the same system used in India. This allows for a simple, transparent and secure vote auditing, if necessary. It has become known as the “auditable printed ballot", and ideally it should be in place for the next elections. But it can only happen if it is approved by Congress at least one year before the date of the election.

Brazil Uncovered - The proposed new system where the ballot is checked by the voter, printed and deposited in the voting box without manual interference.
The proposed new system where the ballot is checked by the voter, printed and deposited in the voting box without manual interference.

How is it possible that, in a democracy, there’s opposition to a more transparent, safe and auditable electoral process? Regrettably, authorities such as the president of the Superior Electoral Court, Supreme Court justice Luís Roberto Barroso, oppose measures that safeguard democracy against electoral fraud. They’ve been doing everything to undermine the progress of the project. First, they said it was a backward system as it was a return to the paper ballot. After this lie has been debunked, they’ve claimed that it would be a great waste of public money. Had money really been a concern, why do Supreme Court justices not let go of their benefits and perks like meals with imported wines and lobsters, footmen to assist their excellencies to get robed, or their official vehicles and drivers? According to their morals, is it only a waste when it means sabotaging democracy. Other meager arguments have been given, such as an alleged difficulty in the custody of the printed votes, a possible delay in voting and breakdown of voting secrecy. The Superior Electoral Court’s reason to exist is to provide a service to voters. It is comical at best to see justices vehemently criticizing the security of the auditable ballot and defending the vote by mobile application. There is no commitment to coherence, a unique trait of any leftist militant. The worst argument used so far is that in case there is an audit, the whole election will be disputed in court. Should we continue to be held hostage by a software and the eternal suspicion of results manipulation?

Brazil Uncovered - Representative Filipe Barros demonstrates how the current, jurassic voting system is prone to being hacked.
Representative Filipe Barros demonstrates how the current, jurassic voting system is prone to being hacked.

It is not yet known whether the auditable printed ballot will be a reality for the next elections. History is not favorable. Similar measures were approved in 2009 and 2015, but the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional. Behind the curtain movements seem to indicate that justice Alexandre de Moraes, which will replace Luís Barroso as president of the Superior Electoral Court, has been articulating with members of Congress to bar the approval of the proposed constitutional amendment. The way things are at present, electoral fraud is the perfect crime: votes issued by the software can’t be audited. There will be no social peace without and auditable printed ballot. People will still be on the edge. The Supreme Court justices are conspiring against a basic principle of democracy instead of upholding it. The dictatorship of the judiciary has been the biggest obstacle to Brazil’s development.

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