Baseless assertions that voting machines produced by Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic are used to manipulate the voting process in Brazil are being reported on the internet and in extremist media across the U.S. — even the fact that neither their hardware nor software is utilized in the current elections in Brazil.
This is the latest instance of how discredited election fraud claims are becoming international. In many cases, falsehoods regarding Brazil are being disseminated into English to American viewers by right-wing influencers and conservative media websites who falsely claim they believe that Donald Trump won the 2020 U.S. presidential election and seem to be promoting the notion that similar fraud could be perpetrated in the coming midterm elections.
The false narratives focus on two companies’ targets of American conspiracists who falsely claimed that their software for voting was used to switch votes between Trump in favor of Joe Biden in 2020.
Dominion, as well as Smartmatic, are the two companies that have filed numerous suits with respect to Trump supporters and right-wing media outlets that propagated falsehoods. Yet, despite numerous attempts to disprove them their names have been used to refer to election fraud.
“It illustrates how tangled these narratives can be,” said Lee Foster who is the senior vice president for research of Alethea Group, which helps businesses identify and counteract inaccurate and misleading claims.
“Once they get popularity in a certain area as they did during this case in the U.S. presidential election in 2020, people will begin applying the narratives to other types of situations and then build the broad conspiracy theories surrounding these events,” He said.
The president of Brazil attacks the country’s system of voting
In the initial second round of Brazil’s presidential election on October. 2 leftist Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was ahead of the incumbent, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro but failed to achieve an outright majority. Both candidates are scheduled for the second round in October. 30.
Rumors about Brazil are also a source of doubt about U.S. midterms
But the voting machine has claimed to have that it has re-emerged this month and was seen on WhatsApp messages from Brazil regarding Smartmatic as well as in posts written in English posted on U.S. online social networking websites saying, in error, it was Dominion or Smartmatic machines were being used in Brazil.
Many pointed to Bolsonaro’s initial advantage as votes were recorded, and Lula beat after more results came in.
“The election had similarities to the previous US election, including surpassing the leader by leaps and bounds.” the Twitter account that has more than 28,000 followers and declares itself to be an independent news agency from around the world posted on the 3rd of October. “Dominion was also used in this election,” the account falsely claimed.
A lot of posters made use of the accusations to discredit elections in the U.S. midterm elections.
“Midterms are looking fantastic,” wrote one poster on the Trump-pro-Trump messaging board Patriots. win. “What can we do if midterm elections are stolen?” Another participant said.
The allegations are “being utilized to seed the ground with regards to fears of fraudulent claims that are allegedly occurring in midterm elections,” Alethea Group’s Foster stated.
Bolsonaro who has spent the last few months claiming that Brazil’s elections are fake and insisting that electronic voting machines shouldn’t be trusted actually did much better than polls were expecting. However, that didn’t stop the ex-president from suggesting that the results could have been altered.
On the Internet, commenters used popular conspiracy theories to discredit the outcome. Alethea Group identified multiple false assertions regarding the fact that Smartmatic or Dominion machines were involved in Brazil’s elections across popular social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit and also on alternative platforms that are popular among the right like Truth Social and Gettr.
Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court, which is responsible for the nation’s election was the first to deny the claims that Smartmatic devices or software were utilized in Brazil in 2020, just a few months after having voted in the U.S. election, and it updated the fact check in the month of October. Independent fact-checkers in Brazil have also looked into the claims and concluded that it was to be false.
“The Brazilian ballot boxes were created by civil servants and technicians in the service of the Electoral Justice and are produced in close coordination by businesses chosen through bidding on public auctions and open competition, which provides greater security and transparency for the process of voting,” the court said.