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News > Latin America

The Brazilian Lower House Rejects Bolsonaro’s Voting System

  • President Jair Bolsonaro, Brasilia, Brazil, Aug. 10, 2021.

    President Jair Bolsonaro, Brasilia, Brazil, Aug. 10, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @UOL

Published 11 August 2021

The far-right President threatened to ignore the outcome of the October 2022 presidential elections if paper ballots were not adopted.

With 229 votes in favor, 218 votes against and 1 abstention, the plenary session of the Lower House rejected on Tuesday a constitutional amendment through which President Jair Bolsonaro wanted to set up a mixed voting system with electronic votes and paper ballots.


Brazil's President Deploys Military Convoy to Pressure Congress

Previously, this far-right politician threatened to ignore the outcome of the October 2022 presidential elections if paper ballots were not adopted, as he maintains that electronic ballot boxes encourage "fraud." The decision of the Lower House completely shelves his initiative, which needed the support of at least three-fifths of the plenary session to pass to the Senate.

"The electronic ballot box is auditable. The printed vote is fraud," Workers’s Party lawmaker Elvino Bohn Gass warned and asked the political class to focus on fighting the economic and epidemiological crisis caused by the Bolsonaro administration.

The Brazilian electronic voting system has been in place since 1996 and has not been the subject of suspicion since then. However, deploying a fierce campaign against the electronic ballot box, Bolsonaro has disqualified electoral authorities and cast doubt on the results of an election in which he is the favorite to lose widely.

The meme reads, "The attempt to intimidate the National Congress into approving paper ballots was a demonstration of force that only exposed the weakness of the government. Out with Bolsonaro."

This far-right politician affirmed that the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) does not want to adopt paper ballots to favor former President Lula da Silva. In response to this discrediting campaign, the TSE opened an administrative process against Bolsonaro and asked the Supreme Court to investigate the Brazilian president for the dissemination of false news and secret documents of the Federal Police.

Before the vote in plenary, a special commission had already rejected Bolsonaro's proposal. The Lower House President Arthur Lira, however, wanted to submit his proposal to general discussion to put an "end" to the matter.

To intimidate lawmakers on the day of the vote, Bolsonaro allowed an unprecedented deployment of tanks and military vehicles through the streets of Brasilia. Politicians, intellectuals and journalists, however, interpreted this parade as a desperate display of weakness.

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