South America

Articles about voting issues in South America.

Brazil: WhatsApp skewed Brazilian election, proving social media’s danger to democracy | Salon

Bolsonaro did not win 55 percent of votes thanks to misinformation alone. A powerful desire for political change in Brazil after a yearslong corruption scandal and a court decision compelling the jailed front-runner Luis Inacio Lula da Silva to withdraw from the race both opened the door wide for his win. But Bolsonaro’s candidacy benefited from a powerful and coordinated disinformation campaign intended to discredit his rivals, according to the Brazilian newspaper Folha. Days before the Oct. 28 runoff between Bolsonaro and his leftist competitor, leftist Fernando Haddad, an investigation by Folha revealed that a conservative. Read More

Peru: Scandal-plagued Peru to vote on reshaping political system | The Guardian

Peruvians vote on Sunday in a referendum that could empower a sweeping overhaul of the country’s judiciary and a loathed political class following a string of scandals that have laid bare the corruption at the heart of Peru’s public institutions. The referendum comes at the end of a year of hitherto unimaginable political upsets beginning when the president Pedro Pablo Kuczysnki was forced to resign over corruption allegations in March and followed by the jailing in November of his principal adversary, the powerful opposition leader Keiko Fujimori. Four former Peruvian presidents are now under investigation for taking bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which has admitted to paying out $30m in Peru – just a fraction of the estimated $800m the firm has admitted to handing out as kickbacks across Latin America, making it the continent’s biggest-ever corruption scandal. Read More

Venezuela: Weary Venezuelans go to polls with record low turnout predicted | AFP

Venezuelans went to polling stations Sunday to elect municipal council members, but analysts predicted record low turnout, citing mistrust in the process, the banning of opposition parties and widespread exhaustion amid the ongoing socioeconomic crisis. The elections come one month before President Nicolas Maduro begins his second six-year term after winning an election in May termed illegitimate by political opponents, the European Union, the United States and most of Latin America. Voting was suspended in the southern city of Gran Sabana, where an indigenous man died Saturday in an apparent military operation against illegal mining, the National Electoral Council (NEC) reported. Read More

Bolivia: Court allows President Morales to run for fourth term | Al Jazeera

A Bolivian court has given a green light for President Evo Morales to seek a fourth term in office, which opponents say is unconstitutional. “The full chamber of the Supreme Electoral Court, by virtue of the jurisdiction and competence exercised by law,” approved nine candidates for primary elections in January, including Morales, according to the decision, which was read out at a press briefing. The decision on Tuesday night came just as opposition to Morales’s candidacy was building, with protesters marching in the capital, La Paz, last week. A general strike was called for next Thursday to oppose Morales’ re-election bid. Morales had previously accepted the results of a 2016 referendum, when 51 percent of Bolivian voters rejected his proposal to end existing term limits. Read More

Brazil: Government reiterates e-voting security | ZDNet

Brazilian authorities reiterated that the electronic voting machines used in the country’s elections are completely fraud-proof prior to the run-off, which took place on yesterday (29). In a public service announcement run on national television and radio on Saturday night, the minister at the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) Justice Rosa Weber highlighted the security of the electronic polling machines in use in Brazil and the danger of fake news dissemination. To ensure a smooth election involving nearly 148 million citizens in Brazil, where voting is compulsory, Weber said the electoral justice took “various measures to prevent and correct any possible failures.” Read More

Brazil: Jair Bolsonaro declared Brazil’s next president | The Guardian

A far-right, pro-gun, pro-torture populist has been elected as Brazil’s next president after a drama-filled and deeply divisive election that looks set to radically reforge the future of the world’s fourth biggest democracy. Jair Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former paratrooper who built his campaign around pledges to crush corruption, crime and a supposed communist threat, secured 55.1% of the votes after 99.9% were counted and was therefore elected Brazil’s next president, electoral authorities said on Sunday. Bolsonaro’s leftist rival, Fernando Haddad, secured 44.8% of votes. In a video broadcast from his home in Rio de Janeiro, Bolsonaro thanked God and vowed to stamp out corruption in the country. “We cannot continue flirting with communism … We are going to change the destiny of Brazil,” he said. Read More

Brazil: Newspaper asks for probe of threats to election reporter | Associated Press

Brazil’s biggest newspaper said Wednesday that it has asked federal police to investigate threats against a journalist whose story alleged backers of the front-running presidential candidate bankrolled a fake news campaign. The request comes amid an increasingly heated atmosphere ahead of Sunday’s runoff between far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who leads in opinion polls, and his leftist opponent, Fernando Haddad. The newspaper Folha de S. Paulo last week ran a report by Patricia Campos Mello saying businessmen linked to right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro had paid to spread fake news on the WhatsApp messaging service to benefit his candidacy. It said a blast message campaign also was planned for this week. Bolsonaro denied the report. Haddad called on Brazil’s electoral court to investigate. Read More

Brazil: Authorities admit fake news struggle | ZDNet

Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) has conceded that it is struggling to deal with the overwhelming wave of fake news created and disseminated around the country’s presidential elections. In a press conference that took place yesterday (22) following the emergence of a WhatsApp mass messaging scandal involving leading presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro , TSE minister Justice Rosa Weber said there was no failure regarding Brazil’s electoral justice around dealing with disinformation, but later admitted there is a problem. “We all know fake news is a worldwide phenomenon, which calls for reflection. We would like to have an immediate and effective solution, but we don’t,” Weber told journalists. “Whoever has the solution to fight disinformation, please show it to us. We haven’t discovered a miracle,” she added. Read More

Brazil: Disinformation Spreads on WhatsApp Ahead of Brazilian Election | The New York Times

Over the past few months, the 120 million Brazilians who use WhatsApp, the smartphone messaging application that is owned by Facebook, have been deluged with political messages. The missives, spread through the country by the millions, have targeted voters ahead of Brazil’s fiercely contested presidential election. A final runoff between a far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, and Fernando Haddad, the leftist Workers’ Party candidate, will be on Oct. 28. One popular WhatsApp message displayed the name of a presidential candidate, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, next to the number 17. When Brazilians vote, they punch in a number for a candidate or party in an electronic voting machine. The misleading message was just one of millions of photos containing disinformation believed to have reached Brazilians in recent months. A study of 100,000 WhatsApp images that were widely shared in Brazil found that more than half contained misleading or flatly false information. Read More

Brazil: ‘Flowering of hate’: bitter election brings wave of political violence to Brazil | The Guardian

The two contenders in Brazil’s bitterly-contested presidential race have urged calm after a wave of attacks on journalists, activists and members of the LGBT community by supporters of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro including beatings, a knife attack and a murder. Supporters of the former paratrooper – himself the victim of a botched assassination attempt last month – have also reportedly been targeted with violence. But an investigation by independent journalism group Agência Publica found that an overwhelming majority of the violence was committed by supporters of Bolsonaro, who polls give a 16-point lead over his leftist opponent, Fernando Haddad, ahead of the second round runoff on 28 October. Read More