RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian election officials displayed on Wednesday the 680 sealed electronic voting machines that will be sent abroad for use by expatriate voters in next month’s ballot, hoping to dispel doubts about the devices’ reliability.
Rightist Jair Bolsonaro, the frontrunner in the polls ahead of the Oct. 7 election with 28 percent support, has questioned the machines’ security, arguing that without paper ballots there is a high probability of fraud “because some software can be used to alter the results on the voting machines.”
The chief magistrate of the Superior Electoral Court, Rosa Weber, disagreed with Bolsonaro’s criticism and defended the reliability of the machines that will be sent abroad.
Weber said there have been no proven cases of fraud in the 22 years the machines have been used.
“People are free to express their opinion, but when that opinion is far from reality, we have to look for real data. The machines are absolutely reliable,” Weber said.
On Wednesday, election officials sealed the ballot boxes, which are now in the hands of the Foreign Ministry, the government department in charge of shipping the equipment by air next week to designated overseas polling places.
The machines will be sent to 99 countries so that roughly 500,000 Brazilian voters living abroad – most of them in the United States, Japan and Portugal – can use them on Oct. 7, though they will only be able to vote for the president.
Voting from abroad will run from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm local time at the respective locations and the count will be relayed electronically to Brazil.