Photo: Then-presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro poses in a voting center during the first round of the 2018 presidential elections. Source: Dado Galderi/Bloomberg.
On Monday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro met with foreign diplomats and sowed doubts about the country’s electronic voting system. During the meeting, which aired on the state television channel for almost an hour, Bolsonaro made unfounded allegations about Brazil’s electoral system. He claimed that an electronic system could not guarantee voters 100 percent security and cited a Federal Police report about an alleged hack of electronic voting machines. Although Brazil’s electoral authority has debunked this claim multiple times—including the day of his meeting—Bolsonaro has continued to question the electoral system’s integrity. In July 2021, he announced that he would not hand over power to the declared winner of the 2022 presidential elections if he suspects electoral fraud. Members of Brazil’s electoral authority and analysts fear Bolsonaro is laying the groundwork to reject election results.
In response to Bolsonaro’s meeting, the U.S. embassy in Brazil described Brazil’s elections as a “model for the world” and echoed U.S. President Joe Biden’s previous comments that the U.S. “trusts in the strength” of Brazil’s democratic institutions. Bolsonaro will face former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in October. The latest polls show Lula ahead of Bolsonaro.