TCU audits Brazilian electronic voting system
In a press conference on September 26, Minister Bruno Dantas, president of the TCU, presented details of the audit that has been underway since 2021.
"The three previous rounds of the integrated audit revealed a few things: first, the electronic voting machines are auditable. Second, the electronic voting machines are reliable. Third, the electronic voting machines are transparent".
The minister also pointed out that the TCU has never questioned the security of the voting machines: "What we are doing as the stages are broken down is to know if the data transmission has all the security steps in place".
The Superior Electoral Court (TSE), responsible for conducting the elections, "has been totally collaborative. One hundred percent of the information that our audit teams request is provided as soon as possible. No document has ever been withheld from the TCU."
In its fifth phase, the integrated audit will have two stages. One will be on the Election Day, when the operational procedures adopted by 54 polling places in the Brazilian capitals will be audited. At this moment the Integrity Test will also be carried out, which verifies if the number typed in the voting machine analyzed is the same as the number of the corresponding candidate.
The other stage will be the post-election, when the TCU will verify if the reports extracted from the Electronic Voting Machine Bulletins (BU) of 4,161 machines, which will be randomly drawn by the Court, are identical to those released by the TSE. "For the larger sample [4,161], moments of the data transmission as a whole were considered critical: the first one is when the BU is extracted before the machine information is even transmitted to any database with an Internet connection."
The second moment, which is the one that will provide comparison, is precisely the information that will be provided after all the internal processing steps are completed. "Therefore, the TCU will take the first moment, which refers to the machine bulletin in its physical form, and the last moment, which is exactly when the TSE consolidates and totalizes all the data. And then we will verify if there were any problems in-between."
The President of the Court of Accounts clarified that this audit is not to be confused with the work that the Court has been doing since the 2000s, namely, to monitor the elections as an invited and accredited institution to audit all acts of the election. "Never before there had been an open audit by the TCU, with a rapporteur, with an audit team to examine the electronic system. In all previous occasions, the TCU participated as an audit entity, just like the OAB (the Brazilian Bar Association) , the political parties or any other Brazilian institution."
About 111 auditors will be involved in this work on Election Day. Part of the data from this phase of the audit will be presented in the report of the fourth stage of the integrated audit, in November, but the result will only come out in early 2023, when the report will be taken to the Full Court of the Court of Accounts by the rapporteur, Minister Bruno Dantas.