- Jair Bolsonaro intensified attacks on Brazil's voting system as the National Supreme Court announced it would open a new criminal probe into the president's attempts to cast doubt on security of electronic ballots.
On his weekly social media broadcast, Bolsonaro doubled down on past claims that members of the Electoral Court erased data that suggested a hacking attack during the 2018 presidential vote.
'In other words, they deleted the potential evidence of a crime, he said. I don't have proof, but this is the story that came to me.
As his popularity has crashed amid his government's chaotic pandemic response, Bolsonaro has took aim at Brazil's electronic ballot system, saying a paper trail is needed to prevent fraud. Opponents fear the one-time army captain is taking a page from former President Donald Trump, trying to create the basis to contest the next year's result if he loses. Already Bolsonaro is facing a criminal probe, accused of trying to undermine or impede next year's vote.
On Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes announced that he would open another confidential investigation to determine to identify if the president committed a crime for release of information. The probe came at request of the Electoral Court, which oversees elections, after the president published details of a 2018 police investigation into the voting system on social media, claiming it was proof the system was vulnerable to cheating.
The Electoral Court denied the allegations. In a statement, it said the incident under investigation was made public at the time and did not represent any risk to the integrity of 2018 elections.
Earlier this week, congress rejected a bill introduced in congress by Bolsonaro's allies to replace paper receipts for each vote cast. But the President's continued attacks on the voting system have spooked investors, with Brazil's real among the worst performing major currency monitored by Bloomberg on Thursday.
'It seems Bolsonaro is really insisting on real votes and that is weighing on the paper ballots, said Brendan McKenna, a currency strategist from Wells Fargo in New York City.