Misleading: It is a misleading post according to which votes deposited in electronic ballot boxes after the official closing of voting days constitute electoral fraud. Voters who arrived in the queues before 5 pm were guaranteed the right to vote. Furthermore, there is no way for poll workers or inspectors to vote using the date of birth of absent voters because this information is not included in the voting books. The content also lacks information about the number of votes cast after 5 pm and about the availability of electronic voting machine operation records (log files).
investigated content🇧🇷 Audio in which a person claims to have decrypted the ballot box log and discovered that millions of votes were cast after 5 pm, the official closing time of the voting period, which would constitute electoral fraud. In this case, the post assumes, poll workers would have voted in place of absent voters using dates of birth included in the voting book.
where it was published: Kwai and Facebook.
Conclusion of Comprova: Votes that were registered in the electronic ballot boxes after 5 pm do not indicate that electoral fraud has occurred, contrary to what is sustained in content shared on social networks.
The author of the viral audio theorizes that people have voted in place of absent voters, after 5 pm, using dates of birth supposedly existing in the voting book. According to the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), this possibility does not exist, because this data does not even appear in the material made available to poll workers.
The court explains that the date of birth is required on the ballot box in cases of people who failed to collect biometrics or who had problems releasing the vote from fingerprints. Who enters the information is the voter himself. In addition, it is necessary that the machines be released with the pollster’s fingerprint, recording the identification of each one.
The body keeps a detailed record of how many people voted after polling officially closed and at which locations.
The author of the audio also claims to have managed to “decrypt” the log files of the electronic voting machines, which is impossible because they are not encrypted.
As explained by Marcos Simplicio, a professor at the University of São Paulo (USP), a researcher in the areas of cybersecurity and cryptography, these files only store information regarding the actions performed on the equipment and do not identify the vote of the voters. The data can be downloaded in text format on the TSE website, on the page with the result of the elections.
The person responsible for the recording claims to have reported the matter to the federal government, but the latter did not respond to attempts to contact the report. The TSE maintains that it has not received any report of fraud involving human intervention in the elections.
For Check, misleading is content that uses inaccurate data and is misleading, with or without the deliberate intent to cause harm.
publication reach: Comprova investigates suspicious content with greater reach on social networks. On Kwai, the post had more than 8,000 interactions as of November 23. On Facebook, it had more than 1 million views and 75,600 interactions, including comments and likes.
What the person responsible for the publication says: Wanted, the profile Família Santos, from Kwai, said it did not understand which post the report was referring to. Requested the WhatsApp contact of the person responsible, the number was not passed on. The account usually posts content in favor of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) and against President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), including questions about alleged fraud in the elections.
How do we check: We looked for the TSE and consulted information about the ballot box log files, to which the audio refers. Then, we also looked for the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin), mentioned in the audio. We interviewed computer engineer Marcos Simplicio, a researcher at the University of São Paulo who participated in tests of electronic voting machines this year🇧🇷
Votes cast after the official close of voting are regular
One of the novelties in the 2022 elections was the unified voting time, which defined the period from 8 am to 5 pm, according to Brasília time, for voters to appear at polling stations. In this way, cities in different time zones had to adapt to the schedule of the federal capital. The change was decided by the TSE plenary in December 2021 and included in the TSE Resolution No. 23,669🇧🇷
However, those voters who were unable to vote by 5:00 pm but arrived at the polling place before the deadline had the right to vote guaranteed🇧🇷 In this way, votes were recorded after the official closure of both shifts.
To Comprova, the TSE informed that it had detailed and structured data on the distribution of votes deposited in the ballot boxes over the time slots of the election days and that it had recorded sections with voting after 5 pm in all regions of the country.
On October 2nd, date of the 1st shift, when long queues formed to vote, the TSE registered 4,047,341 votes after the official closing. The last voters voted between 11:45 pm and 11:59 pm. The aggregation of votes was only completed at 10:27 am on Tuesday (4)but, on the night of the voting date, it had already been mathematically defined that the presidential election would go to the second round.
On October 30, in the 2nd round, the court reported that only 31,714 votes had been cast after closing time, the last ones between 7:15 pm and 7:29 pm. In this ocasion, 124,252,796 voters turned out polling stations, that is, only 0.025% of the votes were cast after 5 pm, contrary to the author of the audio who defends an increase in votes in this period. THE totalization was completed at 00:18 on the 31stbut hours before, the election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) was mathematically defined.
The author of the audio says he has denounced the suspicions raised by him to the Federal Government, citing Abin. When contacted, the agency’s press office did not respond. The TSE, in turn, said it had not received any complaint in this regard.
Members of the polls do not have access to the year of birth of voters
One theory raised by the author of the audio is that the votes registered after 6 pm would have been deposited in the electronic ballot boxes not by voters, but by people with access to the polling place after the end of the election time, at 5 pm.
Part of the voters did not have their biometrics collected or there were problems in reading their fingerprints at the time of voting. Since 2020, the Biometric registration is suspended throughout Brazil as a way to prevent the contagion of covid-19. In these cases, when there is no biometric recognition, the ballot box requests the voter’s year of birth, as informed by the TSE to Comprova.
The author of the audio maintains that those responsible for the alleged fraud would have this information at hand thanks to the voting book and, thus, could impersonate voters.
The statement, however, is false, because the data referring to the complete date of birth of the voter is not included in the voting book used by polling station officials in the voter identification process, the year being omitted.
THE Ordinance No. 70 of the TSE, of February 2022, regulated the models of forms used in the 2022 elections. Annex I of the document technically specifies the preparation of the voting book, where it is possible to verify that the year of birth of the voter remains confidential.
The TSE adds that, in cases where there is no collection of biometrics, the ballot box also asks the poll worker to place his finger and provide his own fingerprint to identify the person responsible for releasing the voter to vote. Only after collecting this information does the ballot box release the vote. In this way, it is possible to identify who released each vote. The information is registered in the ballot box system, but it does not mean that that person, in this case, the pollster, has voted. Voter IDs and typed votes are not recorded in the files, which can be downloaded from the TSE website🇧🇷
There is nothing to decrypt in the log
The author of the audio extols having managed, together with one more person, to “decrypt” log files from the electronic voting machines. The statement, however, makes no sense.
To the report, the TSE explained that the log corresponds to the file produced by the ballot box in which all system operations are recorded, with the respective date and time of occurrence of the event, that is, it records the moment in which a voter was qualified to vote in the ballot box, but without identifying him, other than the moment when a vote was recorded.
These files are processed by the court in order to extract information that allows the improvement of the electoral process and all were published on the official page of the organ. Furthermore, they are not encrypted, so there is no need to talk about “decrypting” the log. Files can be opened with simple and widely accessible tools, as documentation published by the TSE🇧🇷
Professor of Computer Engineering at the Polytechnic School of USP, Marcos Simplicio, what participated in tests of electronic voting machines this year, explains that the log works as a “logbook” of the equipment. “In short, it is a public document, which any citizen can access, which contains the various events that happened to that urn, such as the moment it was turned on, the result of the various internal security checks it performs , when the voting started and ended, etc”, says Simplicio.
The professor details that, in general, “decrypting” means “deciphering”, that is, extracting information that has been scrambled for secrecy purposes. In the specific case, “decrypt the log” means nothing, because the log does not contain encrypted information.
Still on “decrypting the log”, the author of the audio mentions that the same action would have been done in an apocryphal report that was released by an Argentine in a live transmission in the week after the second round. The content, however, has already been widely denied (USP Journal and Proof Project🇧🇷
why do we investigate: Comprova investigates suspicious posts that go viral on social media about the covid-19 pandemic, the carrying out of public works by the federal government or that cast doubt on the outcome of the presidential elections. The post verified here questions data from the operating system of the electronic voting machines and raises unfounded hypotheses about the electoral process, contributing to undermine confidence in the Electoral Justice, with harmful effects for democracy.
Other checks on the topic: Still on the result of the presidential elections, Comprova showed, among other checks, to be false that the government of the Netherlands would have confirmed fraud in the pollswhat the result of the elections is not under analysis by the Justice after the Armed Forces report is that there are no ballot boxes with 1,500 voters🇧🇷
Investigated by: Estado de S.Paulo and O Dia; Verified by: Folha de S.Paulo, Crusoé, A Gazeta and Plural Curitiba
Source: CNN Brasil