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Bolsonaro follows Trump's lead and clouds the vote with fraud claims

Brazil's presidential election will take place in 15 months. Yet, President Jair Bolsonaro has been raising concerns about fraud and warning that he would be entitled to reject the results of the vote if Congress does not reform the voting system.

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Bolsonaro follows Trump's lead and clouds the vote with fraud claims

In the last two months, he has spoken out more than 20 times about potential voter fraud and even suggested that the election be canceled.

Bolsonaro said July 1 that he was open to handing over the government, to whomever it may be, as long as it is done with honesty and not fraud. He harped on the matter again later that day. "They claim I don't have evidence of fraud." "You don't have any proof of fraud."

Brazil's electronic voting system is under constant attack. This has led to a public outcry and closed-door meetings between legislators and Supreme Court justices in defense of the system. The nation's electoral tribunal ordered the president last month to show proof of fraud that he claimed to have repeatedly, but has not presented.

Concerns are also raised about Bolsonaro's possible cribbing from Donald Trump and helping to lay the foundation for his version of the Jan. 6, Capitol riot in Washington.

Robert Kaufman, Rutgers University professor of political science, said that Kaufman's strategy is to cloud the results by claiming they are fraudulent or rigged. This would give him a greater chance of overturning them. His research has been on Latin American dictatorships and democracies.

The electoral tribunal in Brazil organizes and supervises elections. It is not the executive branch that controls them. With August fast approaching, the president's press team did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether he would present evidence of electoral fraud.

His administration gave the order to the federal police to search Brazil's states for fraud reports from the past 25 year. This can be used to support his claims. According to one of his ministers who spoke under condition of anonymity as he wasn't authorized to speak publicly. The minister stated that it is part of his strategy to counter opponents to a constitutional reform proposal, which would add printed copies of every vote to the electronic voting system.

If the proposal were implemented, each electronic vote receipt would be visible to the voter before it was deposited in a sealed ballot box. The president suggests that results could be manually counted in the event of any irregularities in the electronic vote.

The current and future presidents and vice-presidents of electoral tribunals are all Supreme Court justices and support the proposal. They claim that the electronic system, which was created in 1996, already allows for audits and that any change would only open the door to fraud claims.

Justice Luis Roberto Barroso is the president of the tribunal and has been on a mission trying to stop the proposal from the congressional committee, which is expected to vote next week. He met last month with two other Supreme Court justices to stop the bill's progress.

Barroso stated that the printed vote was a "risky solution for a problem which does not exist". It increases the possibility of violence and coercion by drug traffickers and militias, he said. It has been proven that criminal organizations can buy votes and corral support for candidates.

Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes (ex-president of the electoral tribunal) said by telephone that caution is needed at the moment.

Mendes stated that people close to the government used it as an argument that if it's not their way, then there shouldn't be an electoral process." It became a topic for cultivating crisis. We witnessed what happened in the United States.

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