IEC dismisses 'vanishing ink' conspiracy
Mbombela - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has dismissed claims that voters will be given pens containing vanishing ink when they cast their votes on 7 May.
In a chain e-mail sent out last week, one Bruce Jenkins, who claims to have overseen the counting of votes during the 2009 general elections, said the ink used at polling stations vanishes, which opens the system to rigging.
"The IEC supplies legitimate ink pens at the ballot booths, so the rumours of disappearing ink are not true. Voters must not be alarmed.
"We are not aware of any incidents where the mark has disappeared on the ballot paper, so there is no need for people to bring their own pens," said IEC spokesperson Lydia Young.
Jenkins, who claims to be a certified financial planner, said some ballots are deliberately made invalid because they don't have stamps at the back.
"I counted at the last election and all votes with no stamp of the local polling station were not counted. That is the very first item on the list that we check and the votes without stamps at the back are discounted immediately.
"Also use your own pen and not the one that they provide; ink disappears,” warned Jenkins.
Young confirmed that voters should check their ballot papers for stamps.
"Ballot papers need to be stamped in terms of the law; a ballot paper without a stamp is invalid. We therefore encourage all voters to check that the back of the ballot paper is stamped before they proceed to make their mark at the ballot booth,” Young said.
Allegations about the use of vanishing ink have been made during several national elections around the world, including the 2012 Presidential Elections in Egypt were the Muslim Brotherhood was accused of importing 180 000 pens with disappearing ink from India.
The mysterious pens were also rumoured to have been used in the recent Zimbabwean presidential elections, especially in opposition Movement for Democratic Change strongholds.