by Hamzah Nazari
by Hamzah Nazari
ALSO known as election ink or electoral stain, indelible ink is used in elections to prevent electoral fraud, which can occur through methods such as double voting, by marking those who have already voted once.
Many countries such as Indonesia, Egypt and Uganda use indelible ink during elections, especially in cases where it is difficult to determine the identity of voters through identification card and documents.
It was initially stated by the Election Commission on Aug 13, 2007, that indelible ink was to be used in Malaysia’s 2008 general elections but was canceled on March 4, 2008, as a constitutional amendment would have to be made in order to stop someone from voting if they had already been marked.
The common practice is to place the mark on the index finger, often specifically including the cuticle where it is almost impossible to remove effectively.
The mark is usually visible on skin for at least three days afterwards but can last up to four weeks on the fingernail and cuticle and can only be removed when new cells are grown to replace those which are marked.
The ink usually consists of a pigment and a low percentage of silver nitrate which stains the skin when exposed to ultraviolet light.
Fears that indelible ink could contain impure substances prohibited in Islam or negatively effect the health of those stained were allayed after a special conference was held on Aug 8, 2007, by the Fatwa Committee National Council of Islamic Religious Aff airs Malaysia.
The Committee also decided that the mark would not interfere with abolutions as it did not stop water from touching the skin but cautioned against using more than the amount tested by experts.