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IEC: Interim findings show indelible ink used during voting was faulty

Voters complained that the ink was easy to wash off after casting their ballots last Wednesday, with claims that some voters then attempted to cast more than one ballot.

An IEC electoral officer counts ballot papers at the Addington Primary School after voting ended in the sixth national general elections in Durban on 8 May 2019. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) on Tuesday said a sample sent to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research indicated that some of the markers used on voting day may have had bigger particles that failed to stick to the skin of certain voters.

“Preliminary indications show that there may have been some batches in some of the pens that we used that may have had bigger particles in their composition that did not enable easy bonding of the liquid to the skin,” said the IEC’s deputy chief executive Masego Shiburi.

"As a result, [those] persons found it easy to remove,” he said.

The IEC said it had not quantified the number of markers in the faulty batch.

Voters complained that the ink was easy to wash off after casting their ballots last Wednesday, with claims that some voters then attempted to cast more than one ballot.

The indelible ink was one of the security measures used to protect the voting system.

Claims of double voting and other elections fraud allegations prompted the IEC to announce an audit and smaller political parties to threaten to take the IEC to court if it released the election results without addressing their concerns.