Indelible Ink in Elections

Publication Date: 
8 May 2019

Publication Type:

Author(s): 
Anne-Sofie Holm Gerhard, Melika Atic, Panto Letic and Peter Erben

The one-person, one-vote adage has long been a rally call for an inclusive, genuine and legitimate process to determine who should represent the people in government. However, what happens when an electoral process is vulnerable to fraud by individuals who want to cheat the system by voting multiple times to improve the chances of a favorable outcome for their preferred candidate?

One way in which election management bodies (EMBs) have sometimes chosen to protect against multiple voting is by marking voters’ fingers with indelible ink during the voting process. Looking at case studies from around the world, a new white paper from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems offers a discussion guide for EMBs contemplating implementing, improving or abandoning finger inking processes.

Indelible Ink in Elections outlines how finger inking is treated in electoral legislation, the role of EMBs and procedural, practical, technical and country-specific considerations for the use and optimization of indelible ink.

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