The narrative of electoral fraud reappears in Argentina with decontextualized videos

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Bogotá, Nov 7 (EFE).- Accusations without evidence of electoral fraud reappeared in Latin America in the first round of the general elections in Argentina, where supporters of candidate Javier Milei used decontextualized videos to try to prove that premise.

Following the results of the voting on Sunday, October 22 - in which the current Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa, won over Milei, from La Libertad Avanza and favorite in the polls - hundreds of recordings began to be shared on the platforms with messages that questioned the legitimacy of the event.

On many occasions, the content was accompanied by hashtags such as #mileipresidente, #HuboFraude, #MileiEnPrimeraVuelta or #MileiSi.

The videos show, for example, torn ballots of the libertarian candidate, a truck allegedly stealing electoral material or anonymous complaints of a blackout in a computing center.

This is a narrative that was installed mainly on social networks, while the National Electoral Chamber (CNE) confirmed that no political group made a formal claim about the validity of the elections.

The audiovisual content that is shared does not represent any solid evidence that the elections were rigged.

"The videos presented cannot be verified as authentic. It is impossible to know when they were produced, in what context the events occurred and if there was no editing," Volgane Oliveira Carvalho, academic coordinator of the organization Brazilian Academy of Electoral and Political Law, told EFE Verifica. .

Therefore, the expert clarifies, it cannot be deduced from these elements alone that there has been fraud.

While it is true that some images could show certain irregularities, that does not prove that the process has been systematically falsified.

In fact, this is one of the most common misinformation in electoral contexts, as explained on the PortalCheck website, a project carried out by UNESCO, the Argentine verification medium Chequeado and the LatamChequea network of checkers.

"Within an electoral process that involves millions of people, it is common for certain errors or even irregularities to occur," states the portal, which clarifies that the mistake is in presenting this as proof of an organized action.

According to CNE sources consulted by EFE Verifica, during voting day on October 22, the organization's website received 366 complaints, including 105 for broken or stolen ballots.

The authorities referred this to the corresponding electoral prosecutors' offices for investigation.

Furthermore, according to the source questioned, the number of complaints was within the normal range compared to other elections.

For their part, on November 2, the Argentine electoral authorities concluded the first round of voting with the publication of the final count, the preparation of which is in charge of the Electoral Justice.

Through a statement, the CNE maintained that the recount concluded "without protests or claims being made regarding the constitution and functioning of the polling stations, or against the validity of the election."

Which confirms that, despite the statements on networks, La Libertad Avanza did not make any challenge.

Guillermo Francos, Javier Milei's advisor, said in an interview for a local radio station that they do believe that there were "electoral cheats," but he denied having concrete evidence to prove it.

"We believe that there was electoral cheating. We have no doubt that there was electoral cheating. I have no doubt that many polling stations, in the majority of the polling stations where we did not have prosecutors, the people's vote was distorted. Of course, as no We have concrete evidence to prove it, but we only have comparative analysis of voting, there is no way we can raise it in court with that evidence," said the libertarian politician.

Likewise, questioned about a possible lack of knowledge of the result of the runoff, he said that as long as there is clarity in the process, it is up to the group to recognize the vote.

On the other hand, the organization Transparency Electoral, in a preliminary report on the observation of the Argentine elections, indicated that the process was carried out in "an atmosphere of tranquility."

At no point does the document call into question the results of the elections, although it does call for aspects to be corrected, such as the abuse of public resources and the barriers to providing civic support.

EFE Verifica has already detected false claims about fraud in the elections in Peru, Brazil, Colombia, the United States and Spain.

Oliveira Carvalho explains that the spread of false information about the elections "became common on social networks in the middle of the last decade."

However, he notes that it has become an epidemic since the early 2020s.

Basically, the danger of misinformation lies in the fact that "it calls into question the legitimacy of the winners, promotes ideas that question democracy and discourages popular participation in elections," says the specialist.

All this, in his opinion, translates into a weakening of the democratic system that "poses enormous risks for society."

Meanwhile, Argentina will go to the second round on November 19, where it will finally be decided who will be the next president, between Massa and Milei, who will take the reins of the country in December.

Daniela Gaston Allen

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