President Jair Bolsonaro’s re-election campaign has asked voters to volunteer as electoral inspectors ahead of the October 30 runoff vote.
During a live broadcast in the early hours of Sunday, far-right Congresswoman Carla Zambelli asked voters to sign up online. “You know how important it is for us to have ballot box inspectors,” she said. “Be an inspector for the legend.” Mr. Bolsonaro’s supporters often refer to him as ‘myth,’ or legend.
The broadcast lasted for over 20 hours and featured several pro-Bolsonaro celebrities, including star football player Neymar, the most prominent name in the Brazilian squad that will play the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
Political parties can nominate up to two inspectors per polling station. Unlike regular voters, inspectors are allowed inside the station at any time. Parties must submit the names of their inspectors to electoral authorities by October 28.
The inspection of ballot boxes has been a central talking point for the Bolsonaro camp since an effort to bring back printed ballots failed in Congress in 2021. By order of the president, the Defense Ministry conducted checks of voting machine printouts during the October 2 first round , but has so far not disclosed any results. It has pledged to do so only after the runoff.
Congressman Filipe Barros, the die-hard supporter of Mr. Bolsonaro, had proposed that only individual print receipts be counted, discarding the data in the electronic voting machines. His proposal allowed for inspectors nominated by political parties to inspect the vote count by poll workers, similarly to what happens in US elections. The bill also suggested recounts, which are impossible under the current system in Brazil.
Separately, the Federal Accounts Court ran its own audit of printed receipts from 560 voting machines — comparing their tallies to the official results published online, and finding no inconsistencies.
The Workers’ Party is also requesting that voters register the inspectors. Unlike Mr. Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party, however, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silv’s party has published guidelines on what they are expected and allowed to do. Inspectors are required to wear a badge and cannot wear identical clothing, for instance. They are also required to sign the vote printouts after polls close.
In August, the House Human Rights Committee held a public hearing on security in the 2022 election. Edson Borowski, a coordinator at Fenajufe, a representing union justice system workers, warned that “extreme political violence” was likely to occur. “We can’t repeat in Brazil what happened in Bolivia, much less what happened in the US Capitol,” he told lawmakers.
And while the first round of the election took place without significant hiccups, many political observers believe a Bolsonaro loss on October 30 could ignite violent reactions from his supporters.