Affidavits collected by prosecutors evidence another initiative: stimulating abstention by confiscating the voter ID of citizens applying for social programs.
I observed to Brazilian friends that a surprising number of state gubernatorial elections were decided by margins with the margin error of opinion polling, and bet a beer that some of those elections would be subject to fraud investigations.
The majority were in states with very small electorates, the exception being São Paulo. Former governor Alckmin was nonconsecutively reelected with something like 50.5% of the vote in the first round –.although the absolute number of votes cast was huge by comparison with the far-flung jungle states that are the norm in this sample.
I made a list of the closest shaves.
- Tocantins | PSDB, 50.52%
- Maranhão | PMDB, 50.08%
- Roraima | PSDB, 50.41%
- São Paulo | PSDB, 50.63%
- Acre | PT, 50.51%
Still others were decided within the margin of error of opinion polling — say 3%.
Post-election legal proceedings continue to produce adjustments to the results of the October election, especially in cases involving the new “clean record” bill.
Good old Paulo Maluf, for example — convicted of paying kickbacks on a truckload of chicken while mayor of São Paulo, or something like that — wound up being seated as a federal deputy after the conviction was overturned.
I had expected to read some case histories of new frauds from the researchers and activists of Voto Seguro in some of these cases, but nothing yet. The slimmest of margins in Maranhão — political stronghold of ex-president and sitting president of the Senate José Sarney and his daughter Roseane — has excited quite a bit of comment.
The VS group lobbies for complete auditability of the vote-casting and -counting process, including access to source code. It also deconstructs excessive rhetoric about the magical invulnerability of voting by machine.
According to Amilcar Brunazo Jr., who heads the group, a relatively new form of election fraud involves a recent rule change allowing voters to take minor children with them into the voting booth. Children are paid to accompany adults into the booth and then cast votes for the candidate who pays them.
Brunaza and a colleague have published a book with a list of possible attacks on the system, along with defensive measures to be taken. As I understand it, until recently, voting machines were transported physically by poll workers to the tallying center. Cloning machines, stuffing the clone with the desired result, and then effecting the physical switcheroo, does not require rocket science.