South Africans took to the polls on Wednesday 8 May to make their mark in the 2019 elections.
Reports from callers and Twitter users have been growing throughout the day that the supposedly indelible ink used to mark voters' right thumbs rinsed off within hours, while It is supposed to stay put for a couple of days.
At first, the IEC was stating: The indelible ink used to mark thumbs is effective & is one of a number of safeguards to protect the integrity of results.
Unfortunately there are recurring themes of disinformation with every election. It's not true that you can’t vote with fake nails. The indelible ink used to mark thumbs is effective & is one of a number of safeguards to protect the integrity of #SAElections2019 results.— IEC South Africa (@IECSouthAfrica) May 8, 2019
Now EWN reports the IEC has admitted it cannot say with certainty that the ink placed on thumbs cannot be removed, but has promised there are security measures to avoid people cheating the system.
Department of Political Sciences Dirk Kotze at the University of South Africa (Unisa) Dirk Kotze discusses the issue with Bruce Whitfield.
There have been similar complaints about the ink over the years and one would think a more sophisticated ink could have been developed by now.
But Kotze says what would be preferable would be no ink at all.
There should be a different system where the ink is not necessary.— Dirk Kotze, Department of Political Sciences - Unisa
And the way to do that is to change Section 24 (a) of the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill.
It states that someone can vote in a voting district other than where they are actually registered.— Dirk Kotze, Department of Political Sciences - Unisa
Today many voted outside of their registered district, including Cyril Ramaphosa and Mmusi Maimane who voted in Soweto where neither resides.
The issue only applies to national and provincial elections, as in municipal elections one has to vote in the ward in which one lives.
This may well have led to shortages of ballot papers at some voting stations.
It is not the first election where this is the explanation for the shortage of material and especially ballot papers - this flexibility that has been built in.— Dirk Kotze, Department of Political Sciences - Unisa
The existing registration devices popularly known as zip-zip machines are not linked to an online system.
So if you vote in one voting district nothing prevents you from voting at another district.— Dirk Kotze, Department of Political Sciences - Unisa
Kotze says the IEC has again raised the need to revisit the issue and tighten up the process to prevent these kinds of problems in the future.
Take a listen to the interview below:
Many voters took to Twitter to complain:
ID wasn't scanned or stamped, name was physically crossed off the list. Took me about five minutes to wash the ink off my thumb. There are two more voting stations in my area so I could quite easily go out and vote again.— Dave Morgan 🇿🇦🇮🇪 (@44Daithi) May 8, 2019
I voted at around four this afternoon. My left thumb is now free of ink. Isn't this ink supposed to stick on like for a couple of days?#SAElections2019#IEC #Elections2019 #XseDay #IAmVotingEFF #IVotedEFF— Nkosekhaya (@Mntakwenda) May 8, 2019
At no attempt at all to remove it, the ink just washed off my thumb.— Dikeledi Seilatsatsi Mahlangu (@Diks_Mahlangu) May 8, 2019
I voted twice. You can vote twice for your party too. I went to my local Supermarket and bought this product....it removed the ink from my thumb. Within 5 seconds my thumb was Crystal Clear. Try it and you will be able to vote for your party twice in a space of 10 years. pic.twitter.com/pALrRmFjpI— Paul WhyNot (@PaulNot2) May 8, 2019
This article first appeared on 702 : Ink washing off thumbs raises alarm bells of being able to vote more than once