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In the US, questioning elections and electronic voting machines is part of democracy

Accusations that a candidate received more votes in a section than the number of voters existing in the locality, verification pointing out very different results of exit polls, questions about reliability of electronic voting machines. The non-hypothetical situations could perfectly apply to the Brazilian post-presidential election scenario, but they are, in fact, taken from US news from the beginning of the years 2000. If, in Brazil, supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro have been questioning the integrity of electronic voting machines in recent days, based on a video and a report released by the Argentine channel La Derecha Diario, recent American history shows that contesting the ballot boxes and the The smoothness of the electoral process is not an invention of Bolsonaristas here or Republicans (and Trumpists) there.

In November of 2000, the vote count in the US presidential race showed a narrow victory for Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore. The small difference between the two led to a recount of votes and the judicialization of the electoral process, which ended just a month later with the intervention of the Supreme Court. Four years later, Bush’s re-election would raise a number of suspicions about electoral fraud in the country. At the time, exit polls showed a landslide victory for Democratic candidate John Kerry. The explanation for the Bush turn was accompanied by theories of the existence of ghost voters in Ohio and of fraud in Florida’s mostly Democratic counties.

Based on some of these arguments, three congressional democrats wrote a letter to the Government Accountability Office from the USA. The document mentioned the website ustogether.org, which questioned why Florida counties with the most registered Democrats voted overwhelmingly for Bush. The hypothesis was to change the results of the polls. “We are calling for an investigation into all allegations of irregularities regarding electronic and other voting machines so that people can have confidence in the outcome of this election and that any shortcomings are corrected before the next election,” Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler said. , from New York.

Suspicions about the reliability of the electoral process have since given rise to books, articles and documentaries on the subject. One such author is Steven Freeman, then a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, author of the book ‘Was the Presidential Election of 2004 Stolen?: Exit Polls, Election Fraud and the official count’ [em tradução livre]. Intrigued by the numbers, a week after the election, he shared a draft of his findings with colleagues, assuring that “fraud was an unavoidable hypothesis.”

“Over the course of of the 16 years that followed the elections of 2004, the candidates won and yielded; presidents were sworn in. But the vaguely defined movement that was launched at that time has survived. Most of its members are on the left, although not all identify as Democrats. They came to define their cause not around the legitimate presidency of John Kerry, but around the idea of ​​electoral integrity. Some are fixated on voter suppression; some subscribe to deep state conspiracies over the manipulation of voting machines. What they share is the conviction that the election of 2004 was a farce and that it exposed an overarching and undemocratic plot. by the website O Politico, in 2020.

Election of Donald Trump

On the eve of the midterm elections in the country, companies producing electronic voting machines face skepticism from the Republican Party base, especially among supporters of former President Donald Trump. Over the past weekend, for example, protests against electronic voting machines in the states of Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Minnesota resulted in authorities instituting hand-counting as a form of verification.

In 2020, Trump spoke out on social media, claiming that his defeat to Democrat Joe Biden was the result of a fraud. Accused of “electoral denialism”, he even had his Twitter account suspended. Four years earlier, however, even the FBI expressed concern about electoral security and an alleged Russian intervention in the process that culminated in Trump’s victory. What differentiates conspiracy from national defense, therefore, appears to be the side that alleges fraud.

Last month, Hillary Clinton accused Republicans of plotting fraud in the upcoming elections: “Right extremists already have a plan to literally steal the next presidential election.” The speech was an update on her claims about Donald Trump’s defeat in 2016, which she chalked up to “voter suppression and purging” to “hacking and false stories,” insisting. that he was an “illegitimate president”.

Former President Jimmy Carter also opined that an investigation of Russian interference “would show that Trump did not win the election in 2016”. Other lawmakers, such as Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative John Lewis, now deceased, and Representative Maxine Waters were others who called into question the legitimacy of Trump’s victory at the polls. In Georgia, Stacey Abrams did not admit her defeat to the government in 2018, insisting that she “won”, “despite the final count and the inauguration and the situation we find ourselves in” .

Electoral reform to ensure “that no one ever has the opportunity to steal an election again” is among Joe Biden’s plans if the Democrats win the midterm elections. d and mandate. Sixty percent of Republicans believe Biden’s presidency is illegitimate and % say if the party doesn’t retake Congress this week, it’s a sign of voter fraud .

Documentary

The American Documentary ‘2000 mules’, released this year, scripted and directed by conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, claims that people linked to the Democratic Party were paid by unidentified NGOs for an electoral fraud that consisted of illegally depositing ballots in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin polls during the 2020 presidential election. International news checkers, such as the Reuters agency, said they had examined the film, not finding “concrete evidence that definitively proves the fraud”.

Another documentary on the subject is ‘ Kill Chain: Cyber ​​War on American Elections’, available on HBO Max, with legendary Finnish hacker Harri Hursti, an election expert. The film provides insight into the frightening vulnerability of the technology used in the American voting system. “I keep hearing that the system cannot be hacked. Wrong. Everything can be hacked. Always”, says Hursti.

“What we call electronic voting machines”, shows the documentary, “are nothing more than obsolete computers”, whose votes are recorded on removable media, such as flash drives and memory cards. In 2000, in another documentary called ‘Hacking Democracy’ [Hackeando a Democracia, em tradução livre], Hursti demonstrated how, using just a memory card, it is you can easily change votes in electronic voting machines. “It’s not a partisan issue, it’s a common problem for everyone who lives in the United States. And we have to address it in order to preserve our way of life, our society, our rule of law and our right to self-government,” he says.

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