Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Indelible ink can be tempered with, it should in fact be banned

One of the demands of the Bersih2 movement for electoral freedom spearheaded by the Opposition loose coalition of Pakatan Rakyat, was the use of indelible ink, even though  indelible ink were used unsuccessfully in very third world countries like Afghanistan and totally banned in America and Europe. These despite the fact that the Electoral Commission (the EC) is planning to introduce high tech biometric fingerprint identification in the next General Election. Read here to refresh your memories.

Perhaps Bersih2 supporters are a bit wary of new technology and distrusts it so much that they would prefer old world methods to ensure a one man one vote election. This sort of mentality would even have them checking the loose change given back by their children after buying lunch in a restaurant for the family. 

Anyway, today comes news that would disappoint Bersih2 supporters that is indelible ink can be easily removed by common chemicals, how sad. News from the Star:

Wednesday September 14, 2011
Indelible ink can be easily removed, says firm

PETALING JAYA: An international firm specialising in fingerprint security systems claims it has evidence to show that indelible ink used for voting may not be foolproof and that it can be easily removed with common solvents.
The Europe-based company, with 25 years of experience in over 40 countries, has carried out a reliability test on the ink with its findings to be submitted to the authorities.
In a demonstration for The Star, it was shown the indelible ink stain on the test subject's index finger was easily rubbed off in minutes using off-the-shelf stain removal solvent found in most hardware shops.
“The ink is a controlled item which contains silver nitrate and is not openly sold in the market,” a senior company spokesman said, adding that India was the main source for indelible ink.
The controversy over indelible ink is not new as its use was questioned in the Afghan presidential elections in 2004 and elections in Palestine in 2005.
Off it goes: Indelible ink used to mark voter’s fingers can be washed off with off-the-shelf detergents.
“It was discovered in both elections that some voters managed to remove the ink and vote more than once,” the spokesman said.
“Indelible ink could also be easily substituted with other inks and polling stations may not be equipped with test kits to test their genuineness.”
Health concern is another factor affecting the use of the ink as it contains silver nitrate which can cause irritation.
“Its use is not permitted in Europe and the US,” he said.
The use of indelible ink was among the demands of Bersih 2.0 which described it as a simple and cost-effective means to prevent voter fraud.
In 2007, the EC decided to implement the use of indelible ink but did not do so in the 12th General Election following fears of fraud.

Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof refused to comment on the company's findings, saying that any such matter would be discussed by the Parliamentary Select Committee set up to implement electoral reforms.
I think the EC should just go ahead with the biometric fingerprint identification, indelible ink will only bring more problems that it can solve. Additional reading here.

Indelible Ink : OUT

Biometrics: IN

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