Did Brazil Have Fair Elections?


Commentary

The second round of the Brazilian presidential election took place on Sunday, October 30th. Former President Lourada Silva, who was serving time in prison for corruption, won his 50.9 percent share of the vote, while incumbent Jair Bolsonaro won his 49.1 percent share.

This is according to judges of the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE), Brazil’s highest electoral body.

A fair election will always require a paper ballot or some sort of paper trail, and even electronic voters can have proxy power over votes and self-verify their ballots.

this is most of the reason Developed country We will continue to use primarily paper ballots and physical ballot boxes made of canvas, plastic, and other non-electronic materials.

However, in Brazil’s current electronic voting system, there is no actual hard-copy register maintained by the government for each ballot cast electronically, so the votes cast by Brazilians are exactly the same as those cast in the ballot box. There is no absolute guarantee that

In other words, on August 10, 2021, the Brazilian Congress failed to pass a constitutional amendment requiring the printing of physical ballots that voters can verify, leaving Brazilians wondering if their votes were properly cast. I can’t confirm whether. It therefore provides physical oversight for electronic processes.

Epoch Times photo
Demonstrators attend a rally calling for printed voting models in support of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil on August 1, 2021. (Nelson Almeida/AFP via Getty Images)

Unfortunately, this important proposal was largely overruled by the powerful political lobbying of then-Supreme Election Judge Luis Roberto Barroso, who was also a Supreme Court Justice.

he managed agreement Enough members of Congress to reject these reasonable amendment proposals.

Government loses legitimacy due to judicial involvement

Brazil has the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), where electoral judges make rules, decide disputes, and even oversee campaign finances. It is composed of seven members, three of whom are elected by secret ballot from among the Supreme Court justices, and the remaining two of him are judges of the Superior Court (STJ), the second highest court in Brazil. They are elected by secret ballot. The remaining two of her are appointed by the President of the Republic, out of her six attorneys appointed by Supreme Court justices.

Interestingly, some of these top electoral judges have openly and furiously campaigned against one of their candidates, President Jair Bolsonaro. For example, on February 19, then-Chairman of the Electoral Court, Luis Roberto Barroso, at the University of Texas Law School, said:throw away the president

A few months later, he was giving a lecture at Oxford University when he was interrupted by two Brazilian Oxford students. assumption Reliability of electronic voting machines on June 25th.

Epoch Times photo
Brazilian Superior Electoral Court (TSE) President Luis Roberto Barroso speaks at the opening ceremony of the 6th Public Test on Security of Electronic Ballot Boxes (TPS) in Brasilia, Brazil, November 22, 2021. (Image by Evaristo Sa/AFP via Getty)

Like millions of other fellow citizens, the two students suspected that electronic voting machines were not entirely reliable and sent checks in the form of physical records for each electronic vote. I wanted to get a I was able to see if the votes were properly cast.

And on August 1, 2021, millions of people took to the streets. Brazil’s major cities protest I object to the apparent lack of transparency in the electronic voting system.

Among other things, this is due in part to the fact that some of the unelected judges ostensibly play political roles unsuitable for the judicial function. DataPoder360Released on June 15, 2020.

These judges are perceived positively by just 23 percent of the population.

The results show a decline in trust in the courts and an increase in cynicism towards the country’s implementation of the rule of law. In fact, many Brazilians believe that the judiciary is a key factor contributing to the significant decline of the rule of law.

Admittedly, this is nothing new: a poll conducted in the early 2000s by Garibaldi Fernandez in the book The Decline of Justice and Democracy in Latin America by US law professor William Prilaman found that 74% of Brazilians were religious. It became clear that we didn’t have one. at the judge.

More than 86% said some people, including judges and politicians, were not punished enough for breaking the law. Finally, about 50% disagreed that judges usually punish the guilty and release the innocent.

According to Priraman, the result is “an almost complete lack of trust in the judiciary, and Brazil appears to be on the verge of a deep democratic decline, with judicial failures leading to a decline in trust in the rules.” of the law.

Presidents-elect are allowed to run only for professional purposes

Things seemed to change in 2017 when former Brazilian President Lula da Silva was sentenced to 12 years and 1 month in prison for corruption and money laundering charges.

Still, he only spent a year and a half in prison. In 2021, the Supreme Court vacated all those convictions on purely technical grounds. The court did not say a word about Lula’s negligence. This was evidenced by his three sentences before nine judges, as well as a string of criminal cases involving numerous confession witnesses, plea bargaining, and even the return of stolen money.

Instead, the court simply stated that the former president should have been prosecuted in Brasilia rather than the city of Curitiba, restoring Lula’s political rights and allowing him to run for president in this year’s election.

and interview On January 10, President Bolsonaro accused some of these unelected judges of “wanting Lula to be president.”

Epoch Times photo
Brazil’s former president and current presidential candidate Luis Inacio Lula da Silva addresses supporters during an election rally during the final week of his campaign at the Portela Samba School in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 25, 2022. (Buda Mendes/Getty Images) )

For example, Supreme Court Justice Aleksandr Demorais, who assumed the presidency of the electoral court that oversees the voting process, ordered social networks to delete thousands of posts, ruling him out of court for postings on social media. Arbitrarily imprisoned supporters of the president. He claims he “attacked a Brazilian institution, his own court.”

In many cases, paper The New York Times: “Moraes acted unilaterally, emboldened by new powers granted by the court in 2019, effectively allowing him to act simultaneously as investigator, prosecutor and judge”.

“It’s an unprecedented role, in some cases transforming the court into a whistleblower and a judge,” says former Supreme Court Justice Marco Aurelio Melo.

Of course, it is incredibly unwise for Brazilians to put a notorious corrupt politician back in office. It’s hard to believe they would be morally bankrupt to pay off a notorious far-left politician like Lula da Silva. They could finish the work he started to turn Brazil into another Cuba and Venezuela.

So, did Brazil have a fair and transparent presidential election? It can have a big impact on the winner.”

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.

August Zimmermann

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Augusto Zimmermann is Professor and Legal Director at the Sheridan Institute of Higher Education, Perth. He has also served as President of the Western Australian (WA) Legal Theory Association and Editor-in-Chief of The Western Australian Jurist, and from 2012 until 2017 he was a member of the WA’s Legal Reform Commission. “Composition Brasileiro”, “Western Legal Theory”, and “Christian Foundations of Common Law”.