2019 South African general election: Analysis and News

Ink washing off thumbs raises alarm bells of being able to vote more than once

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.

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:


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