Polling Ink Skepticism Doesn’t Wash

Over the past few weeks, So Van has become something of an expert on permanent inks.

“These stains are ten days old” says the NEC interpreter-cum-ink-tester, holding up a hand on which each fingernail is stained a different shade of brown.

So Van is part of the NEC team that has been testing the staying pow­er of six specially sourced inks to de­cide on one to be used to identify those who have voted on July 26.

Lemon juice and gasoline were am­ong the more un­usual removal agents the inks were required to withstand.

“We finally selected an Indian ink, the only one that passed all the tests,” said So Van.

It may seem like a lot of trouble, but finding an ink in which the public can be confident is no laughing matter, a human rights worker explained Friday.

“The ink is the final guarantor of the actual voting process. It stops multiple voting”, he said.

It was also important to reassure skeptics of the ink system. “The ink worked all along. Everyone said that it didn’t but it does,” he said.

After an independent test conducted this past weekend, The Cambodia Daily can confirm that the selected ink is resistant to aggressive efforts with soap, scrub brush, toothpaste and nail polish remover. Silver ni­trate in the ink en­sured the finger dipped Friday was (and still is) stained a dark shade of black, which deepened with exposure to sunlight.

NEC press secretary Leng Sochea also pronounced the NEC “very satisfied” that the selected ink is reliable.

Election officials hope the ink will help polling station workers prevent people from voting twice. The NEC on Saturday announced that 127 voters have been struck from lists of voters after it was determined they had registered more than once.


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