The Man, The Machines

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Brazil’s electoral court rejected a complaint by the party of outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro challenging the outcome of last month’s presidential runoff that he narrowly lost to his leftist rival, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The populist leader lost in the Oct. 31 runoff to former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who won 50.9 percent of the vote.

On Tuesday, Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party (PL) filed a complaint after a party-commissioned study said it found “serious and irremediable inconsistencies” in older models of Brazil’s digital ballot boxes.

The report said that software malfunctions made it impossible to individually identify devices manufactured before 2020, which accounted for nearly 60 percent of those used in the election.

As a result, the party suggested that votes cast through these machines should be “invalidated,” which the study said would hand Bolsonaro victory, the Financial Times added.

The electoral court said it would consider the complaint if the PL submitted a new report within 24 hours – including results from the first round of the election because the same machines were used in both ballots.

But party representatives said there would be no amended report, prompting the court to dismiss the complaint Wednesday.

The court also issued a fine of more than $4 million for “bad faith litigation” and ordered the suspension of government funds for the Liberal Party until the penalty is paid.

Earlier this month, Bolsonaro supporters launched blockades across Brazil following the election results, claiming that da Silva fraudulently won the election. The outgoing leader also took two days to address the public after his defeat: He has not explicitly conceded the race or congratulated his opponent since the election.

Analysts said the recent challenge was an attempt by Bolsonaro, who has consistently questioned the integrity of Brazil’s election system, to appeal to his supporters.

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